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GOVERNMENT OF INDIA 

DEPARTMENT OF ARCHAEOLOGY 

CENTRAL ARCHEOLOGICAL 
LIBRARY 

Call No. "7 jSL ^ * J 
Acc. No.~63. foa. 


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D.G.A. 79. 

GIPX — S4 — 2D. G. Arch. X. D. 57. — 25-9-58— 1,09, OM. 


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Middle Chola Temples 



BY THE SAME AUTHOR 


1. 

2 . 

3. 

4. 


Four Chola Temples 

BHULABHAI DESAI MEMORIAL INSTITUTE. BOMBAY 

Early Chola Art, Part I 

ASIA PUBLISHING HOUSE, BOMBAY 

Kopperunjingan (in Tamil) 


Solar Kalai Pani (in Tamil) 


PAARI NILAYAM, MADRAS 


PAARI NILAYAM, MADRAS 


Early Chola Art and Architecture (in Tamil) 

BUREAU OF TAMIL PUBLICATIONS, 
TAMIL NADU GOVERNMENT. MADRAS 


6. Early Chola Temples (a.d. 907-985) 


ORIENT LONGMAN LTD., DELHI 



Middle Chola Temples 

Rajaraja I to Kulottunga I 

(a.d. 985-1070) 


S. R. Balasubrahmanyam 




THOMSON PRESS (INDIA) LIMITED 

PUBLICATION DIVISION 
1975 



© Copyright 1975 by S.R. Balasubrahmanyam 


The publication of this book was facilitated by the generous financial assistance 
given by the Ford Foundation which considered it “a significant research effort 
contributing to the preservation of knowledge of an important phase in the 
development of Indian art.” 


Thomson Press (India) Limited 
Publication Division 
Faridabad, Haryana 


PRINTED IN INDIA 


BY AROON PURIE AT THOMSON PRESS (INDIA) LIMITED, FARIDABAD, HARYANA 



14 • 




^ - \y ^ 

7 2 ^ 6 / 4-4 S.f&pJ- 

$odbi - .. . 2 ..! . 6 . * 17 ..— — - 


Dedicated, 
to my wife 

Kaveri 

and 

to the sacred memory of 
her parents 

P.R. Vaidyanatha Ayyar 
and 

Anantha Lakshmi 




Foreword 


I know Shri S.R. Balasubrahmanvam for some years and I had the pleasure 
of presiding over the function arranged at New Delhi when his art book on 
Early Ghola Temples was released on 12th May, 1971. He is acknowledged 
as an outstanding living authority on the subject of South Indian monuments 
and art in general and of the Gholas in particular. He has planned four 
volumes on Ghola temples based on a systematic, scientific survey of these 
monumental works of art. He has already published two volumes which have 
received well-deserved appreciation from scholars of repute, Indian and foreign. 
The present book, the third in the series, deals with the Middle Chola period, 
covering the reigns of the most illustrious Chola ruler Rajaraja I and his 
brilliant successors who ruled from a.d. 985 to 1070. 

Among the dynasties which ruled over South India, the Cholas were 
undoubtedly the greatest. They ruled the land with glory for a long and 
unbroken period of 430 years (a.d. 850 to 1280). They were skilled admini- 
strators whose main concern was the welfare of their subjects. Their land 
survey was systematic, elaborate and thorough. There was a highly skilled 
and well-trained bureaucracy, both at the local and central levels, to man a 
stable and efficient administration. Rajaraja I was a dynamic military leader. 
The Chola country had the good fortune of having Rajaraja I and his four 
successors of eminence who, by their valour and leadership in war, maintained 
the honour and glory of their forefathers. 

The Gholas were successful not merely on land but also on the seas. During 
the reigns of Rajaraja I and his son, the Ghola empire attained its widest limits 
and touched the heights of prosperity and glory. What Rajaraja I began, his 
son Rajendra I completed. During their time, the Chola empire extended on 
land from Kanya Kumariin the South to the mouth of the Ganga in the north. 
The Cholas were also a great sea power. Sri Lanka and the Lakshadvip 
( Laccadives'! islands were conquered; the Chera fleet was overpowered. Send- 
ing a naval expedition across the wide sea of the Bay of Bengal, the Gholas 
subdued the mighty empire of Sri Vijaya of the Sailendras whose sway 
spread over ‘Malaya, Singapore and Indonesia’ with their capitals at Sri Vijaya 



vm 


FOREWORD 


(in Sumatra) and Kadaram (Kedah in the isthmus of Kra). The Nicobar 
islands (Ma-Nakkavaram) came under Chola rule. 

The Cholas were well-versed not only in methods of war but also in the 
promotion of the arts of peace. They were the finest temple-builders of 
South India and their allied arts, architecture, sculpture — stone and bronze, 
painting, music, drama and dance received tremendous encouragement and 
patronage, and these arts attained the highest level of progress. The Chola 
bronzes and jewellery reached unprecedented heights of excellence. 

Though the Cholas have built hundreds of temples all over the land, even 
today standard books on Indian architecture mention only about half a 
dozen of them and even these are not given detailed treatment. In the two 
volumes already published, the author has identified and described nearly a 
hundred and fifty temples, which could be ascribed to the Early Chola 
period (a d. 850 to 985). The present volume covers the history of a hund- 
red temples of which about a dozen could be assigned to the earlier period. 
These were built not only in the heart-land of the Chola country but also in 
the areas brought under their rule by their expansion. The Rajarajesvaram 
temple built by Rajaraja I at his capital is the most magnificent of Indian 
structural temples — the temple par excellence. This is fully dealt with in this 
volume. In addition, more than fifty temples were built all over the land. 
Among them the outstanding ones are the Vanavan Mahadevi Isvaram (Siva 
Devale II) in Sri Lanka, the Siva and Vishnu temples at Attur, the Palli- 
kondar temple at Tirunelveli, the Tiruvalisvaram temple — all in the Pandya 
country; the Siva and Vishnu temples at Olagapuram and Dadapuram (South 
Arcot District) and the Arinjigai Isvaram at Melpadi in Tondainadu. 

About twenty-five temples could be ascribed to the age ofRajendra 1, the 
most outstanding being the Gangaikonda-Solisvaram built by him at his newly 
built Chola capital. Among other impressive temples built during the reign 
may be mentioned the Vishnu temple at Mannarkoyil (Pandya country), the 
temples at Tiruvorriyur, Kulambandal and Tiruppasur (all in the Chingleput 
district), the Pidari temple at Kolar (Karnataka), and the memorial temples 
built at Kalidindi (Andhra Pradesh) over the mortal remains of three Chola 
generals who fell while defending the principality of Vengi of the Eastern 
Clialukyas under Chola supremacy. 

I understand that the last phase of Chola art and architecture is another 
bright chapter of South Indin history. I sincerely hope that the author will 
carry on the completion of this series by publishing the art history of the last 
phase of this illustrious dynasty who have remarkable achievements to their 
credit. 


New Delhi 
April 4 1974 


Y.B. Chavan 
Finance Minister 
Government of India 



Preface 


S.R. Balasubrahmanyam’s third volume entitled “Middle Chola Temples’’ 
carries the saga of Chola architecture, sculpture and inscriptional evidence 
from the reign of the great Raj.traja(A.D. 985-1014) upto the very short reign 
of Adhi Rajendra (a.d. 1069-70), the son of Vira Rajendra (a.d. 1063-1069) 
who is the last of the famous royal Chola temple builders of the Middle period. 
Thereafter followed a short interregnum of political chaos till Kulottunga I 
(a.d. 1070-1120) came to the throne to revive Chola glory. The author's 
previous two volumes on Early Chola architecture and sculpture had told the 
story of the prolific temple-building activities of Aditya I (a.d. 871-907). the 
real founder of Chola supremacy in the South and that of his successors till 
Rajaraja ascended the throne. No doubt this is a brilliant period in the history 
of Chola art and there are several aspects in which it was never surpassed, 
particularly in the sculptures which adorned these early shrines in their deva- 
koshlas and other parts of the temple structure. But with Rajaraja the Chola 
temple underwent a transformation. This did not occur as a fortuitous circum- 
stance. It was conditioned by the greatness of the Chola empire, its expansion 
from the Bay of Bengal to the Arabian Sea, its all-victorious arms, its liberal 
paternal administration and the religious fervour of the monarch and his 
subjects. This pinnacle of glory to which the fortunes of the Chola dynasty 
rose is indissolubly bound with the reign of Rajaraja. Everything about this 
ruler and his kingdom could truly be described in the superlative and thus it 
came about in the natural course of events that the greatest of all South Indian 
temples was conceived, built and consecrated by him. From the beautiful 
but small temples of Aditya I and Parantaka I to the mighty cathedral shrine 
of Rajarajeesvaram of Tanjavur is a progression in architectural vision and 
achievement so far-reaching, and in so limited a space of time, that Rajaraja 
must in some respects be regarded as the greatest temple builder of the South. 
And here in this third volume Shri Balasubrahmanyam commences the story 
of this unique achievement and its continuation into the reign of Rajaraja's 
son Rajendra and even thereafter. The story is unfolded by the author in its 
fullest perspective. This architectural achievement is surveyed against the 



X 


PREFACE 


background of the history of the period — political, social and religious. It does 
not stand in isolation as a technical dissertation on the building of Middle 
Chola temples but becomes a living drama within which a mighty architectural 
achievement took place. Without the comprehension of this drama and its 
ever rising tempo, the true glory of Chola art can never be adequately unfolded 
or understood. The great temple of Rajaraja is commonly known as the 
Brihadesvaram though there seems to be no reason why it should not always 
be referred to by its true name of Rajarajeesvaram, the authenticity of which 
is vouched for by inscriptional evidence. It is not enough to understand the 
architectural plan and layout of the Rajarajeesvaram. This temple itself 
reveals what it meant to its builder, his court, his officers and his people. It is 
indeed a testament in stone, for the numerous inscriptions beautifully engraved 
on its walls yield a wealth of detail with regard to the donations made to it and 
its highly elaborate administration. It symbolizes a religious fervour and ferment 
which no doubt led to the propagation of such stories as the miraculous finding 
of the Devaram hymns by Rajaraja. Rajaraja never forgot that the enormous 
wealth which he had acquired was no less by conquest than by good adminis- 
tration. A unique feature of the temple is the several stalwart figures on the 
walls holding sword and shield. Shri Sivaramamurti, the well known historian 
of South Indian art. and myself both firmly believe that the underlying idea of 
these figures, which may ostensibly be regarded as guardian figures, was to 
immortalize Rajaraja’s great army commanders who had brought glory to 
him and the royal house of the Cholas. They remind us of the “Immortals’’ 
of the Achaemenid kings in a more distant past. Not only is the Rajarajeesvaram 
famous for its architecture and sculpture but also for its paintings wherein 
is seen the last lingering greatness of the Ajanta tradition, though conceived 
and executed in a different manner. Whether the usually accepted interpre- 
tation of certain famous scenes in these paintings such as the one which is 
regarded as Rajaraja and his queens worshipping at the shrine of Nataraja 
at Chidambaram and another which is thought to be Rajaraja and his religi- 
ous mentor Karur Deva is correct or not need not be discussed here. This 
much seems certain that the inspiration of these paintings was Rajaraja's 
attachment to the story of the life of the Navanar Sundaramurti and that of 
his friend Cheraman Perumal. which was later to be immortalized in the 
Periya Puranam of Sekkilar in the 12th century. 

It is indeed sad, as Shri Balasubrahmanyam observes, that hardly any of the 
bronzes that were gifted to the Rajarajeesvaram temple exist today. The great 
Nataraja is one exception and another is a well-known Tripurantaka, formerly 
amongst the temple images and now in the Tanjore Art Gallery. But there is 
reason to believe that two mote of the bronzes gifted to this temple do exits 
though no longer in the temple itself. Both were originally in the Srinivasa- 
gopalachari collection. One is the well known “Chola King” who is almost 
certainly Rajaraja himself, and the other is the “Chola Princess” who may 



PREFACE 


XI 


well be his famous sister Kundavai, a great devotee of this shrine and who like 
the famous Sembiyan Mahadevi, spent her life in religious work and donations. 
These bronzes have been frequently illustrated. 

1 he might of the Chola empire, great as it was in the reign of Rajaraja, 
increased even more in the reign of his famous son Rajendra. As if to symbolize 
this greatness and also the gratitude of the monarch to the God whom both 
father and son so ardently worshipped and whose blessings had carried the 
Chola arms to unprecedented military and naval success and the realm to 
economic prosperity, Rajendra built the great fane of Gangaikondacholapuram. 
Though certainly not built in any spirit of rivalry to his father’s achievement, 
it does in fact almost rival that achievement. Here several of the splendid 
bronzes appear to be contemporary with the founding of the shrine. 

Though these two great temples undoubtedly dominate the entire range of 
Chola architecture and sculpture with which the present publication deals, 
yet the author has brought to light many other temples — as many as eighty 
assignable to the period of Rajaraja I and Rajendra I — some hitherto wrongly 
classified and others not generally known or referred to by other writers. 
With regard to the Tiruvalisvaram shrine in the Tirunelveli district, not far 
from the taluk headquarters of Ambasamudram. it is a most interesting temple 
from the point of view of its many sculptures though it has no devakoshta images 
as seems to be usual in temples of the Pandyan domain. But it has an inscription 
of the 11th year of Rajaraja and the author ventures to suggest that the temple 
even if built in the late Parantaka period was completed by Rajaraja. This 
seems to me not unlikely, having regard to some of its sculptures, but a more 
intensive study of Pandyan temples is necessary for firmer conclusions. 

A number of temples of the period of Rajendra I. other than the famous 
Gangaikondacholesvaram. are also dealt with both from the point of inscrip- 
tional evidence and style to establish the period to which they belong. This is 
not always an easy task, because inscriptions are numerous and the earliest 
one on a shrine n ed not necessarily belong to the period of its foundation. 
Reconstructions, renovations and additions further complicate the problem 
of dating many a shrine. But by far and large it may be said that the material 
on which the author has based his conclusions is adequate and correctly inter- 
preted with the full consciousness that there are bound to be shrines in each 
classification on which the last word has yet to be spoken. This non-dogmatic 
approach, so essential in a subject so complex as Chola temple chronology, 
is a most admirable feature of the text. 

The author leads the reader to an understanding of his viewpoint without 
any jarring notes of arbitrary pronouncements. Epigraphy is necessarily the 
basis of all studies in relation to South Indian temples and Shri Balasubrahman- 
yam, who is one of the greatest Tamil Epigraphists of our times, has collected 
and interpreted a vast amount of material which will ever remain the basis on 
which further studies can be founded. In a sense the great period of Chola 



XU 


PREFACE 


temple art ends with Rajendra but what followed can never be neglected, for 
it is also of high importance. Shri Balasubrahmanyam has realised this and 
continued his study of the Middle Ghola period by taking it upto the time 
of Adhi-Rajendra (a.d. 1069-70). Thereafter there was political confusion 
till Kulottunga I stabilized Ghola rule once more. From this point, it is hoped 
the author will continue his great saga and bring it up to the period of Kulot- 
tunga III, the builder of the famous Tribhuvanam temple. 

This book is easily the richest contribution to South Indian art; what adds to 
its merit is that it is profusely illustrated, most of the illustrations being pub- 
lished for the first time and some of them of rare quality. 

Karl Khandalavala 
Editor, Lalit Kala and Chairman, 
Lalit Kala Akademi, Bombay 
10th April 1975 



Introduction 


What I have undertaken in this and the sister volumes is the first scientific 
and systematic survey of dated Chola temples — a venturesome and onerous 
task. The material is so vast, and the physical spread of the monuments so 
extensive, that this work should have been done either by Government or by 
endowed institutions with a team of scholars, surveyors, epigraphists and drafts- 
men, backed by substantial funds. Instead, it has been left to the lot of an 
individual to undertake this task without the facility of finances, the necessary 
staff or even a reference library. It is my regret that I could not afford to give 
the monuments the time necessary for their proper study. My main qualifi- 
fication to undertake this effort, however, is love for and dedication to the 
subject, spread over a period of half a century. 

When Prof. Nilakanta Sastri wrote the history of ‘The Colas’ in 1934, he 
hoped to publish a separate study of Chola art but regretted in his second 
edition in 1955 that “the promise of a separate study of Chola Art held forth in 
the preface to the first edition had not materialised”, and added “difficulties 
in the way of a comprehensive treatment are unfortunately still too many. 
These will disappear only if the Archaeological Department or a South Indian 
University undertakes this task”. There has been no progress since then. I am 
sure that in the light of this background, scholars would overlook the short- 
comings in my humble study of a great subject. My only justification for this 
daring enterprise is that even a limited survey such as mine has not been 
attempted so far. 

I have been ploughing my lonely furrow all along; but the brunt of the work 
on these volumes has fallen on my son, B. Venkataraman, who is being associated 
with me in an honorary capacity in this project. We have made an on-the-spot 
study of almost all the temples included in this survey. The far-off temples 
I could not visit, my son has done. He has also photographed a number of the 
temples and sculptures, not otherwise available to me. He has also prepared the 
draft on Rajarajesvaram, Gangaikondacholesvaram and of the temples of 
the Karnataka desa. His help in the arrangement of the subject matter 
and the selection and processing of the sumptuous illustrations has been 



XIV 


INTRODUCTION 


considerable. Without formally lending his name, he has worked in effect 
as co-author of this work. 

The Cholas were the builders of the largest number of temples in South 
India. The Tamil Saiva Saints who lived in the seventh, eighth and ninth 
centuries have sung the praise of the Lords of 274 temples in South India, 
which are distributed geographically as follows: 190 temples in Chola Nadu, 
on both banks of the Kaveri, 32 in Tondai Nadu, 22 in Nadu Nadu and 14 in 
Pandi Nadu. To this, we have to add a large number of temples built later 
by the Chola kings, their queens, ministers, nobles and subjects. 

The period of Rajaraja I and his successors upto the accession of Kulottunga I 
(a.d. 985 to 1070; is the grandest in the history of South India. In the very 
few standard works on Indian Art and Architecture, only two temples belonging 
to the period are dealt with — the Rajarajesvaram and the Gangaikondacholis- 
varam. The present survey, fairly comprehensive though not thorough, presents 
more than a hundred temples assignable to the period based on unimpeach- 
able epigraphical and reliable literary evidence. 

A rich artistic legacy has been left to us by the Cholas, but it has not been 
properly studied. V.A. Smith observed that '‘After a.d. 300, Indian sculpture 
properly so called hardly deserves to be recognised as art”. Even in such a 
modern scholarly work as J.N. Banerjee’s The Development of Hindu Iconography 
(Calcutta University) we find the erroneous statement that the sculptures of the 
Ananda tandava form of Nataraja found in South India belong “most of them to 
the 14th or 15th century a.d. or even later”. The three volumes of this series 
on Chola temples so far published, and the fourth under preparation, will 
dispel these hasty and ill-informed views, perpetuated by an absence of a survey 
of these monuments and sculptures. 

Now, a few remarks of a general nature. In his monumental work, A Study of 
History, Arnold Toynbee writes: 

“Mankind is going to destroy itself unless it succeeds in growing together 
something into a simple family. For this, we must become familiar with each 
other, and this means becoming familiar with each of their history, since man 
does not live just in the immediate present .” 

To this growing realisation of the concept of ‘one world’, the civilization of 
South India generally, and the culture and art of the Cholas in particular, 
have a significant contribution to make. Recently, two books have been pub- 
lished. One is the Vivekananda commemoration volume on the theme of 
‘India’s contribution to world thought and culture’. The other is D.P. Singhal’s 
‘India and the World Civilization’. Both deal with India’s role in human 
history and her contacts with and influence on the peoples of the rest of Asia, 
Africa, Europe and America. They emphasise that Indian civilisation is dis- 
tinguished by its antiquity, continuity and vitality, with a powerful impact 
on the other peoples of the world. 

Another Indologist, Dr. H.C. Quaritch Wales, pointed out that the Sailendras, 



INTRODUCTION 


XV 


who built up a vast maritime empire which endured for live centuries and 
contributed a great deal to the llowering of Indian thought and culture in 
Java and Cambodia, do not find mention in modern histories and encyclo- 
pedias and such an omission is a serious one in the context of a balanced his- 
tory of the world. The achievements of the Cholas who conquered them were 
no less remarkable and deserve an honourable place in this context. 

It is with a heavy hearc that I have to record the passing away, recently, 
of two of my dearly valued friends and colleagues. Mr. P.Z. Pattabhiramin, 
brought up by the fostering care of the late Prof. G.J. Dubreuil and later by 
Dr. Filliozat, Director of the French Institute of Indology, Pondicherry, tire- 
lessly laboured to build up an impressive collection of photographs, carefully 
annotated and indexed, housed in the above Institute, which forms a fitting 
memorial to him. I also bemoan the loss of my friend Prof. Benjamin Rowland 
of the Fogg Musem, Cambridge, Mass., United States of America. He was an 
outstanding authority on Indian Art and Architecture. His two masterly 
works: The Art and Architecture of India (III edition, Pelican, 1967) and 
Zentral Asien (in German, Kunst Welt, 1972), will remain fitting monuments 
to his scholarship and deep interest in the culture and art of India and Asia 
in their traditional aspect. May I also place on record my sense of deep sorrow 
at the demise of my valued friend Dr. Moti Chandra whose deep learning, 
ripe wisdom and sterling character will be cherished by all fellow scholars? 

The Tamil Nadu Government have been warm in their appreciation of 
my contributions in the field of Ghola Art. When in 1972 they appointed an 
expert committee to study and report on the genuineness or otherwise of the 
Nataraja bronze now in the Sivapuram temple, I was nominated its Chairman; 
we had regretfully to report that the bronze was a fake substitute, and recom- 
mended that efforts should be made to recover the original idol that had been 
whisked away to a foreign country. It is good to learn that the Norton Simon 
Foundation, where it ultimately found its way, has agreed to return the idol. 
We also recommended that a full and systematic photographic survey of all 
bronzes in the temples of the Tamil Nadu should be undertaken immediately. 
I am glad that this survey has begun its work already. Later in February, 
1973, 1 was called upon to preside over the inauguration of the First Seminar on 
Hero-stones; and I was also invited to preside over the inaugural function of 
the Seminar on the Cholas held at Madras in June, 1973. 

I am beholden to the Director-General of Archaeology, Government of India, 
the Superintending Archaeologist, Southern Circle and the Conservation staff 
of the Rajarajesvaram temple for their kind help and cooperation in the study 
of the temples under the control of the Central Government. 

I place on record my indebtedness to Sliri Yashwantrao B. Chavan (formerly 
Minister for Finance and now for External Affairs) for his Foreword and 
Shri Karl J. Khandalavala for the Preface contributed to this volume. 

The Ford Foundation of the United States of America have placed me under 



XVI 


INTRODUCTION 


a deep debt by giving me a generous grant to supplement my meagre resources 
towards the publication of this volume also. The various ministries of the 
Government of India concerned with processing the proposal of the Founda- 
tion to grant me assistance for this project have earned my gratitude by 
clearing the proposal expeditiously. The publication would not have been 
possible but for the sanction of this grant. I am grateful to the Foundation and 
in particular to its present Chief in India, Dr. Harry E. Wilhelm, for this help. 

The French Institute of Indology gave me a number of illustrations from 
their large collection. The Director-General of Archaeology, New Delhi, the 
Director of Archaeology, Tamil Nadu Government, Madras, and the Director 
of the American Institute of Indian Studies, Varanasi, provided me a few of 
their photographs; and I acknowledge my indebtedness to these bodies in 
detail elsewhere. Quite a large number of the photographs, some of them 
rare, particularly of the more inaccessible monuments, have been taken and 
made available to me by my son Venkataraman. 

I am much obliged to many of my brother-scholars. Dr. M.N. Deshpande, 
Director-General of Archaeology, has given me a lot of help. Shri K.S. Rama- 
chandran, Senior Technical Assistant, and Mrs. K. G. Rao, Librarian of the 
Central Archaeological Department, Dr. G.S. Gai and Shri K.G. Krishnan of 
the Epigraphical Department, Mysore, Shri R. Nagaswamy, Director of 
Archaeology, Tamil Nadu, Dr. A.V. Narasimhamurti, Director of the Mysore 
Archaeological Survey, Dr. J. Filliozat and members of the French Institute 
of Indology, Pondicherry, Dr. James C. Harle of the Ashmolean Museum, 
Oxford, Shri H. Sarkar of the Temple Survey, Archeological Department, 
Southern Circle, Dr. Promod Chandra and Shri M.A. Dhaky of the American 
Institute of Indian Studies, Varanasi, Shri C. Sivaramamurti, and Shri 
Sadashiva Gorakshar of the Prince of Wales Museum, Bombay and many 
other friends have extended to me their valuable co-operation and help. I 
render them my sincere thanks. 

Thomson Press (India) Limited, who printed my previous book, Early Chola 
Temples, very kindly came forward to include this volume as one of their publi- 
cations. I am greatly obliged to Shri V.V. Purie, Shri Aroon Purie, Shri R.S. 
Rawal and Shri H.K. Mehta and Shri B.L. Ganju of the Production Depart- 
ment and his team, for the keen and sustained interest shown by them in my 
work. All the members of the Press have taken a personal interest in this 
publication and extended to me special privileges which I greatly appreciate. 

I am thankful to Shri D. Kannan, Shri V. Balasubrahmanyan and Shri 
Jagdish Ram Sharma for a lot of technical assistance in the processing of the 
illustrations. Wing Commander K.S. Balakrishna, Shri Haridas Ghosh and 
Shri Sudhansu Sekhar Patnaik prepared the index. It was a labour of love. I 
am thankful to them. In typing out the script at various stages, Messrs. 
S. Varadarajan, C.K. Rajappa, D.R. Srinivasan, K.N. Lakshmi Narayanan 
and T.R. Aravamudan have been of great help in various ways. 



INTRODUCTION 


xvn 


My sons B. Natarajan, B. Venkataraman and B. Ramachandran and my 
daughter-in-law Leela Venkataraman and my grand children Nandini 
Venkataraman and Mohan Venkataraman have been deeply involved in my 
project and shared my interest, and each has made a valuable contribution to 
this volume. I owe a special debt to Leela, who functioned virtually as my 
secretary, during the last one year, doing all the chores that writing this book 
involved besides helping me in numerous other ways in the publication of 
this book. I am proud and happy about their association. With Natarajan's 
contribution on Chidambaram, The City of the Cosmic Dance (Orient 
Longman), and Venkataraman’s specialisation on Later Cholas, apart from his 
works Laddigam (Orient Longman) and Temple Art under the Chola Qjieens 
(Thomson Press), Chola art may be said to have become a family legacy. I 
pray for the completion of the series. 

And in conclusion, I must pay my humble homage to the holy sage who 
presides over the Kamakoti Peetham at Kanchi who has always been to me a 
source of inspiration and encouragement. His light has guided me in all my 
work. 


S.R. Bahsubrahmanyam 

C-I/9, Humayun Road, 

New Delhi 
26th April, 1975. 


It is with a sense of deep personal as well as professional loss that I have to record the passing 
away (when this volume was in the last stages of printing) of that great historian and archeo- 
logist of South India, Professor K.A. Nilakanta Sastri. It was my privilege to be associated 
with him intimately for well over half a century. His masterly contributions to the study of 
the history of the Pandyas and of the Cholas and their contacts with the kingdom of Sri Yijaya 
constitute a fitting permanent memorial to him and will remain a source ol inspiration to 
scholars for all time to come. 




Contents 




Foreword 

Preface 

Introduction 

List of Map, Plans, Sketches and Illustrations 
Rajaraja I 

Temples of Rajaraja I’s Time 
Rajendra I 

Temples of Rajendra I’s Time (with an Historical 
Survey) 

Successors of Rajendra I 

Temples of the Time of the Successors of Rajendra I . . 

Supplement to Early Cliola Temples 

Conclusion 

Map, Plans, Sketches and Illustrations 
Index 


vii 

ix 

xiii 

xx 

i 

H 

230 

240 

334 

345 

374 

408 

411 



Map, Plans, Sketches and 
Illustrations 


1. Map, Plans and Sketches: 

(i) Plan : Tanjavur, Rajarajesvaram, ground plan 

(ii) Plan : Gangaikondasolapuram, Gangaikondasolisvaram, plan 

(iii) Sketch : Gangaikondasolapuram, Gangaikondasolisvaram, Disposition of Yimana 

Devatas 

(iv) Map : Chola Empire in the Middle Chola Period (a.d. 985-1070) 

(v) Plan : Tiruvorriyur, Adipurisvarar temple, ground plan 

(vi) Sketch : Adhishthanams of selected Middle Chola Temples 

2. Illustrations (Colour plates — paintings, structures and sculptures in stone and metal) 


i. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Rajaraja I (painting) 

2. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

garbhagriha, upper tier 

3. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

garbhagriha, lower tier 

4. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Chandesvarar shrine 

5. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Sadyojata 

6. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Rajaraja I and his queens 
worshipping Nataraja (painting) 

7. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Chitsabha (painting) 

8. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Nataraja in Chitsabha (painting) 

9. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Chitsabha with srivimana and 
devaganas (painting) 

10. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Rajaraja I and Karuvur 
devar (painting) 

11. T anjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Tripurantakar (painting) 

12. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Bharata natya karanas (stone) 

13. Tiruvenkadu {Tanjavur 

Art Gallery) 

Kalyanasundarar group (bronze) 

14. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram (Tanjavur 
Art Gallery) 

Tripurantakar (bronze) 

15. Tiruvenkadu (Tanjavur Art Gallery) 

Bhairavar (bronze) 

16. Tiruvenkadu (Tanjavur 

Art Gallery) 

Bhikshatanar (bronze) 

17. Tiruppasur 

Vachisvarar temple 

Apsidal srivimana 



XXI 


Description of Plates 

3. Illustrations (Black & white) 


Plate Place 

No. 

Temple 

Description 

1. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Nataraja (bronze) 

2. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

View of temple complex 

3. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

The two gopurams 

4. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

The temple — general view 

5. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Dvarapala [left) 

6. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Dvarapala (right) 

7. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Garbhagriha, south face (with 
Vikramasolan tiruvasal) 

8. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Garbhagriha, west face 

9. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Bhikshatanar and kumbha- 
panchara — garbhagriha, south face 

10. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Chandesvarar shrine 

11. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Lingodbhavar 

12. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Siva-Uma Alinginamurti 

13. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Gangadharar 

14. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Kalarimurti 

15. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Nataraja 

16. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Sarasvati 

1 7. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Siva 

18. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Rajaraja and Karuvur Devar 

19. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Vishnu and Ganapati 

20. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Mahalakshmi 

21. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Chandesvarar 

22. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Subrahmanyar 

23. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Chandrasekharar 

24. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Hariharar 

25. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Lingodbhavar 

26. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Bhairavar 

27. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Buddha panel 

28. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Nandi 

29. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Nandi (metal), ardhamandapa 

30. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Ganapati (Parivaralaya) 

31. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Inscribed pillar in peristyle 

32. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Varahi, Saptamatrika group 

33. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Isana, Dikpala 

34. Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

Varuna, Dikpala 

35. Tiruvaiyaru 

\ ada-kailasam 

Dakshinamurti 

36. Tiruvaiyaru 

\ ada-kailasam 

Brahma 

37. Tiruvalanjuii 

Kshetrapala shrine 

Srivimana (in ruins ) 

38. Tiruvalanjuii 

Kshetrapala shrine 

Garbhagriha wall (inscribed), 
with Kshetrapalar sculpture 

39. Alagadriputtur 

Svarnapurisvarar temple 

Dvarapala 

40, Alagadriputtur 

Svarnapurisvarar temple 

Lingodbhavar 

41. Alagadriputtur 

Svarnapurisvarar temple 

Brahma 

42. Tiruchchengattangudi 

Uttarapatisvarar 

Central shrine, srivimana 



XXII 


Plate Place 
Xo. 


43. Tiruchchengattangudi 

44. Tiruchchengattangudi 

45. Tiruchchengattangudi 

46. Tiruchchengattangudi 

47. Tiruchchengattangudi 

48. Tiruchchengattangudi 

49. Tiruchchengattangudi 

50. Tiruchchengattangudi 

51. Tiruchchengattangudi 

52. Tiruchchengattangudi 

53. Tiruchchengattangudi 

54. Tirukkadaiyur 

55. Tirukkadaiyur 

56. Tirukkadaiyur 

57. Tirukkadaiyur 

58. Tiruppugalur 

59. Tiruppugalur 

60. Tiruppugalur 

61. Nagapattinam 
6 1 a. Nagapattinam 

62. Nagapattinam 

63. Nagapattinam 

64. Nagapattinam 

65. Nagapattinam 

66. Nagapattinam 

67. Nagapattinam 

68. Nagapattinam 

69. Nagapattinam 

70. Nagapattinam 

71. Tirukkalar 

72. Tirukkalar 

73. Tirukkalar 

74. Tirukkalar 

75. Tirukkalar 

76. Tirukkaravasal 

77. Tirukkaravasal 


Temple 


Description 


Uttarapatisvarar temple 

Uttarapatisvarar temple 
Uttarapatisvarar temple 
Uttarapatisvarar temple 
Uttarapatisvarar temple 
Uttarapatisvarar temple 
Uttarapatisvarar temple 
Uttarapatisvarar temple 
Uttarapatisvarar temple 


Uttarapatisvarar temple 

Uttarapatisvarar temple 
Amritaghatesvarar temple 
Amritaghatesvarar temple 
Amritaghatesvarar temple 
Amritaghatesvarar temple 
Konapiran temple 
Konapiran temple 
Konapiran temple 
Karonasvamin temple 
Karonasvamin temple 
Karonasvamin temple 

Karonasvamin temple 
Karonasvamin temple 
Karonasvamin temple 
Karonasvamin temple 
Karonasvamin temple 
Karonasvamin temple 
Karonasvamin temple 
Karonasvamin temple 
Parijatavanesvarasvami 
temple 

Parijatavanesvarasvami 

temple 

Parijatavanesvarasvami 

temple 

Parijatavanesvarasvami 

temple 

Parijatavanesvarasvami 

temple 

Kannayiranathasvami 

temple 

Kannayiranathasvami 

temple 


Central shrine, srivimana, 
adhishthanam 
Vatapi Ganapati shrine 
Vatapi Ganapati 

Dakshinamurti, devakoshta figure 

Lingodbhavar, devakoshta figure 

Durga 

Ardhanari 

Bhikshatanar 

a! Urdhva-tandavamurti 

b) Kalasamharamurti, 

c) Kankalamurti, 

Tandavamurti and Gajasamhara- 
murti 

Bhikshatanar and Tripurantakar 

Srivimana and ardhamandapa 

Kalakala devar shrine 

Dvarapala, right 

Dvarapala, left 

Srivimana 

Bhikshatanar 

Rajaraja I’s inscription 

Garbhagriha — Thyagaraja shrine 

Inscription 

Nataraja, ardhamandapa, 

central shrine 

Dakshinamurti 

Lingodbhavar 

Brahma 

Durga 

Vrishabharudhar (bronze) 
Bhikshatanar (bronze) 

Nataraja (bronze) 

Sivakami (bronze) 

Nataraja and Sivakami (bronze) 

Tani Amman (bronze) 

Chandesvarar 

(bronze) 

Manikkavasagar and 
Sundarar (bronze) 

Appar and 
Sambandar (bronze; 
Dakshinamurti 

Bhikshatanar 
( bronze) 



XX1XX 


Plate 

Xo. 

Place 

Temple 

Description 

78. 

Tirukkara vasal 

Kannayiranathasvami 

temple 

Nataraja and Sivakami 
(bronze) 

79- 

Tirukkaravasal 

Kannayiranathasvami 

temple 

Vrishabhantikar 

(bronze) 

80. 

Tirukkaravasal 

Kannayiranathasvami 

temple 

Somaskandar 

(bronze) 

81. 

Tirunedungalam 

Tirunedungalanathar 

temple 

Somaskandar 

(bronze) 

82. 

Tirunedungalam 

Tirunedungalanathar 

temple 

Uma (Somaskandar group) 
(bronze) 

83- 

Tirunedungalam 

Tirunedungalanathar 

temple 

Siva-Uma Alinginamurti 
(bronze) 

84. 

Tirunedungalam 

Tirunedungalanathar 

temple 

Nataraja (bronze) 

Ba- 

Tirunedungalam 

Tirunedungalanathar 

temple 

Sivakami (bronze) 

se. 

Tirunedungalam 

Tirunedungalanathar 

temple 

Dvarapala 

87. 

Tirunedungalam 

Tirunedungalanathar 

temple 

Dvarapala 

88. 

Tirunedungalam 

Tirunedungalanathar 

temple 

Yoga-Dakshinamurti 

89- 

Tirunedungalam 

Tirunedungalanathar 

temple 

Ganapati (parivara devata) 

go. 

Tirunedungalam 

Tirunedungalanathar 

temple 

Ardhanari 

9'- 

Tirumangalam 

Samavedisvarar temple 

Srivimana 

92- 

Tirumangalam 

Samavedisvarar temple 

Dakshinamurti 

93- 

Tirumangalam 

Samavedisvarar temple 

Sankara-Narayana, western 
devakoshtha 

94- 

Tirumangalam 

Samavedisvarar temple 

Brahma 

95- 

Tirumangalam 

Samavedisvarar temple 

Durga 

96. 

Tirumangalam 

Samavedisvarar temple 

Anaaya-Nayanar (stone) 

97- 

Tirumangalam 

Samavedisvarar temple 

Ramayana Panel (Sugriva 
pattabhishekam) 

98. 

Tirumangalam 

Samavedisvarar temple 

Somaskandar (bronze) 

99- 

Tirumangalam 

Samavedisvarar temple 

Nataraja and Sivakami (bronze) 

100. 

Madagadippattu 

Kundanguli Mahadevar 
temple 

Srivimana, north view 

101 . 

Madagadippattu 

Kundanguli Mahadevar 
temple 

Adhishthanam 

102. 

Madagadippattu 

Kundanguli Mahadevar 
temple 

Ganapati 

103. 

Madagadippattu 

Kundanguli Mahadevar 
temple 

Brahma 

104. 

Madagadippattu 

Kundanguli Mahadevar 
temple 

Durga 

105. 

Madagadippattu 

Kundanguli Mahadevar 
temple 

Vishnu (griva-koshlha ) 



XXIV 


Plate Place 

No. 

Temple 

Description 

106. Marakkanam 

Bhumisvarar temple 

Garbhagriha 

107. Marakkanam 

Bhumisvarar temple 

Srivimana 

1 08. Marakkanam 

Bhumisvarar temple 

1 7th year inscription of Rajarajal 

1 09. Marakkanam 

Bhumisvarar temple 

Durga 

1 10. Marakkanam 

Bhumisvarar temple 

Bhikshatanar 

hi. Marakkanam 

Bhumisvarar temple 

Nataraja and Sivakami (bronze) 

1 1 2. Marakkanam 

Bhumisvarar temple 

Somaskandar (bronze) 

1 13. Marakkanam 

Bhumisvarar temple 

Tani Amman (bronze) 

1 14. Olagapuram 

Siva temple 

Srivimana (in ruins) 

1 15. Olagapuram 

Vishnu temple 

General view 

1 1 6. Olagapuram 

Siva temple 

Dakshinamurti (original) and 
Bhikshatanar (inserted) 

1 1 7. Olagapuram 

Siva temple 

Durga 

1 18. Olagapuram 

Vishnu temple 

Vishnu 

1 19. Ennayiram 

Alagiya Narasimhaperu- 
mal temple 

General view 

120. Ennayiram 

Alagiya Narasimhaperu- 
mal temple 

Srivimana (superstructure) 

121. Esalam 

Tiruvalisvarar temple 

Srivimana 

122. Esalam 

Tiruvalisvarar temple 

Ganapati 

123. Esalam 

Tiruvalisvarar temple 

Vishnu 

124. Esalam 

Tiruvalisvarar temple 

Durga 

125. Esalam 

Tiruvalisvarar temple 

Vinadhara Dakshinamurti 

126. Dadapuram 

Manikanthesvarar temple 

General view 

127. Dadapuram 

Karivarada Perumal 
temple 

Srivimana 

128. Tirumukkudal 

Yenkatesa perumal temple General view 

129. Tirumukkudal 

Venkatesa perumal temple Vishnu (stone) 

130. Sivapuram 

Siva temple 

Srivimana 

(Urogadam) 

(Rajarajesvaram) 


13 1. Sivapuram 

Siva temple 

Inscription 

(Urogadam) 

(Rajarajesvaram,! 


132. Sivapuram 

Siva temple 

Dvarapala 

(Urogadam ) 

(Rajarajesvaram ; 


133. Sivapuram 

Siva temple 

Dvarapala 

(Urogadam; 

( Rajarajesvaram ) 


134. Sivapuram 

Siva temple 

Ganapati 

(Urogadam; 

(Rajarajesvaram ) 


135. Sivapuram 

Siva temple 

Brahma 

(Urogadam) 

(Rajarajesvaram) 


136. Sivapuram 

Siva temple 

Durga 

(Urogadam) 

(Rajarajesvaram ; 


137. Kalakkattur 

Agnisvarar temple 

General view 

138. Kalakkattur 

Agnisvarar temple 

Ganapati 

139. Kalakkattur 

Agnisvarar temple 

Dakshinamurti 

140. Kalakkattur 

Agnisvarar temple 

Ardhanari 

1 4 1 . Tirurnalai 

Kundavai Jinalaya 

Neminathat 



Plate Place 

No. 

Temple 

Description 

142. 

Tirumalai 

Kundavai Jinalaya 

Mural painting 

143- 

Attur 

Somanathesvarar temple 

Srivimana of Somanathesvarar 




shrine 

144. 

Attur 

Somanathesvarar temple 

Srivimana of Pallikondar shrine 

145- 

Attur 

Somanathesvarar temple 

Garbhagriha, devakoshtha 

146. 

Attur 

Somanathesvarar temple 

Balasubrahmanya (vimana devata) 

‘47- 

Attur 

Somanathesvarar temple 

Yoga-Narasimha ( vimana devata) 

148. 

Attur 

Somanathesvarar temple 

Brahma (vimana devata ) 

149- 

Attur 

Somanathesvarar temple 

Sambandar (bronze) 

150. 

Attur 

Somanathesvarar temple 

Appar (bronze) 

15'- 

Attur 

Somanathesvarar temple 

Sundarar (bronze) 

‘52- 

Attur 

Somanathesvarar temple 

Cheraman Perumal (bronze) 

153- 

Attur 

Somanathesvarar temple 

Rama (bronze) 

"54- 

Attur 

Somanathesvarar temple 

Sita (bronze) 

■55- 

Attur 

Somanathesvarar temple 

Dancing Krishna (bronze) 

156. 

Gangaikondan 

Kailasapati temple 

Srivimana 

157- 

Gangaikondan 

Kailasapati temple 

Ganapati (bronze) 

158. 

Gangaikondan 

Kailasapati temple 

Somaskandar — Siva (bronze) 

>59- 

Gangaikondan 

Kailasapati temple 

Parvati (bronze) 

160. 

Gangaikondan 

Kailasapati temple 

Nataraja (bronze) 

l6l. 

Seramadevi 

Ramasvantin temple 

Srivimana (north-west view) 

l6‘2. 

Seramadevi 

Ramasvatnin temple 

Dancing Krishna (bronze) 

163. 

Seramadevi 

Ammanathasvamin temple Nandikesvarar (bronze) 

164. 

Brahmadesam 

Kailasanathar temple 

Main gopuram 

165. 

Brahmadesam 

Kailasanathar temple 

Garbhagriha 

166. 

Brahmadesam 

Kailasanathar temple 

Bhogasakti (original bronze) 

167. 

Brahmadesam 

Kailasanathar temple 

Tani Amman (bronze) 

168. 

Brahmadesam 

Kailasanathar temple 

Manikkavasagar and Sundarar 




(bronze) 

169. 

Brahmadesam 

Kailasanathar temple 

Appar and Sambandar (bronze) 

170. 

Brahmadesam 

Kailasanathar temple 

Bhikshatanar 

171. 

Brahmadesam 

Kailasanathar temple 

Wood carving (main door) 

172. 

Tiruvalisvaram 

Tiruvalisvarar temple 

Srivimana, general view 

*73- 

Tiruvalisvaram 

Tiruvalisvarar temple 

Srivimana west face, north side 

174. 

Tiruvalisvaram 

Tiruvalisvarar temple 

Srivimana west face, south side 

•75- 

Tiruvalisvaram 

Tiruvalisvarar temple 

Srivimana, north face 

176. 

Tiruvalisvaram 

Tiruvalisvarar temple 

Subrahmanya (griva koshla, east) 

■77- 

Polannaruv'a 

Siva Devale No. 2 

General view, south face 

.78. 

Malur-Patna 

Arumolisvaram temple 

General view (north-east) 

179- 

Malur-Patna 

Arumohsvaram temple 

Inscription in ardhamandapa 

180. 

Malur-Patna 

Jayangondasola vinnagar 

General view 

181. 

Malur-Patna 

Jayangondasola vinnagar 

Garbhagriha ( without super - 




structure ) 

182. 

Malur 

Kailasesvarar temple 

Main gopuram ! without super- 




structure) 

183. 

Malur 

Kaiiasesvarar temple 

Garbhagriha and ardhamandapa 

184. 

Malur 

Apprameyasvami temple 

Srivimana ( superstructure ) 

185. 

Malur 

Apprameyasvami temple 

Vishnu (stone sculpture! 



Plate Place 

No. 


Temple 


Description 


186. 

Tiruvisalur 

187. 

Tirunaraiyui 

188. 

Tirunaraiyur 

189. 

Tiruvenkadu 

190. 

Tiruvenkadu 

I 9 I - 

Tiruvenkadu 

192. 

Tiruvenkadu 

■ 93 - 

Tiruvenkadu 

194- 

Tirukkodikka 

195- 

Tiruvakkarai 

196. 

Valuvur 

■97- 

Valuvur 

198. 

Valuvur 

'99- 

Valuvur 

200. 

Valuvur 

201. 

Valuvur 

202. 

Tanjavur 


203. Paruttiyur 

204. Gangaikondasolapuram 

205. Gangaikondasolapuram 

206. Gangaikondasolapuram 

207. Gangaikondasolapuram 

208. Gangaikondasolapuram 

209. Gangaikondasolapuram 
2 1 o. Gangaikondasolapuram 

2 1 1 . Gangaikondasolapuram 

212. Gangaikondasolapuram 

213. Gangaikondasolapuram 

214. Gangaikondasolapuram 

215. Gangaikondasolapuram 
2 1 G. Gangaikondasolapuram 

217. Gangaikondasolapuram 

218. Gangaikondasolapuram 

2 1 9. Gangaikondasolapuram 

220. Gangaikondasolapuram 

22 1 . Gangaikondasolapuram 

222. Gangaikondasolapuram 

223. Gangaikondasolapuram 


Siva Yoganathasvamin 
temple 

Soundaresvarar temple 

Soundares\ arar temple 
Svetaranyesvarar temple 
(Tanjavur Art Gallery) 
Svetaranyesvarar temple 
(Tanjavur Art Gallery! 
Svetaranyesvarar temple 
(Tanjavur Art Gallery) 
Svetaranyesvarar temple 
Svetaranyesvarar temple 
(Tanjavur Art Gallery) 
Tirukkotisvarar temple 
Siva temple 

Yiratthanesvarar temple 
Viratthanesvarar temple 
Yiratthanesvarar temple 
Yiratthanesvarar temple 
Yiratthanesvarar temple 

Yiratthanesvarar temple 
Rajarajesvaram temple 


Kalyanav aradaraja 

Pcrumal temple 

Gangaikondasolisvaram 

Gangaikondasolisvaram 

Gangaikondasolisvaram 

( Gangaikondasolisvaram 

Gangaikondasolisvaram 

( Gangaikondasolisvaram 

Gangaikondasolisvaram 

Gangaikondasolisvaram 

C Gangaikondasolisvaram 

Gangaikondasolisvaram 

Gangaikondasolisvaram 

Gangaikondasolisvaram 

Gangaikondasolisvaram 

Gangaikondasolisvaram 

Gangaikondasolisvaram 

Gangaikondasolisvaram 

Gangaikondasolisvaram 

Gangaikondasolisvaram 

Gangaikondasolisvaram 

Gangaikondasolisvaram 


Tulabhara and Hiranyagarbha, 
Rajaraja I and Dantiskti Yitanki 
Rajaraja I and Xambi Andar 
Xambi 

Dakshinamurti 

Yrishabhantikar and Consort, 
front view (bronze) 
Yrishabhantikar and Consort 
rear view (bronze) 
Kalyanasundarar group (bronze/ 

Somaskandar (bronze) 
Kannappar (bronze) 

Tripurantakar (bronze/ 

Xataraja (bronze; 

Xataraja (bronze) 

Somaskandar (bronze) 
Bhikshatanar (bronze) 
Gajasamharamurti (bronze/ 
Nandikesvarar and Consort 
( bronze) 

Ayyanar (bronze) 

a) Kailasa scene-dancing figures 

b) Cheraman to Kailasa 

(paintings) 

Rama, Lakshmana and Sita 
1 bronze) 

Srivimana (General view) 

Garbhagriha, south face 

Dakshina Kailasarn 

Uttara Kailasarn 

Chandesanugrahamurti 

Sarasvati 

Kalarimurti 

Ganapati 

Durga 

Yishnu with Sndcvi and Bhudevi 

Xataraja 

Xataraja 

Brahma with His Consorts 

Hariharar 

Bhairavar 

Bhikshatanar 

Manmathadaliauamurti 

Umasahitar 

Gangadharar 

1 )urga 



XXVII 


Plate Place Temple Description 

No. 


■224. 

Gangaikondasolapuram 

225. 

Gangaikondasolapuram 

226. 

Gangaikondasolapuram 

227. 

Gangaikondasolapuram 

228. 

Gangaikondasolapuram 

229. 

Gangaikondasolapuram 

230. 

Gangaikondasolapuram 

231. 

Gangaikondasolapuram 

232. 

Uttattur 

233- 

Uttattur 

234- 

Uttattur 

235- 

Uttattur 

236. 

Uttattur 

237- 

Uttattur 

238. 

Uttattur 

239- 

Uttattur 

240. 

Uttattur 

241- 

Uttattur 

242. 

Uttattur 

243- 

Uttattur 

244. 

Uttattur 

245- 

Uttattur 

246. 

Uttattur 

247- 

Uttattur 

248. 

Tiruppattur 

249- 

Tiruppattur 

250. 

Tiruppattur 

251- 

Tirunallaru 

252. 

Tirunallaru 

253- 

Ramanathanko) il 

254- 

Ramanathankoyil 

-55- 

Ramanathankos il 


256. Ramanathankoyil 


257. Ramanathankoyil 


238. Ramanathankoyil 


Gangaikondasolisvaram 
Gangaikondasolisvaram 
Gangaikondasolisvaram 
Gangaikondasolisvaram 
Gangaikondasolisvaram 
Gangaikondasolisvaram 
Gangaikondasolisvaram 
Gangaikondasolisvaram 
Siddharatnesvarar temple 
Siddharatnesvarar temple 
Siddharatnesvarar temple 
Siddharatnesvarar temple 
Siddharatnesvarar temple 
Siddharatnesvarar temple 
Siddharatnesvarar temple 
Siddharatnesvarar temple 
Siddharatnesvarar temple 
Siddharatnesvarar temple 
Siddharatnesvarar temple 
Siddharatnesvarar temple 
Siddharatnesvarar temple 
Siddharatnesvarar temple 

Siddharatnesvarar temple 
Siddharatnesvarar temple 
Avvanar temple 
Ayyanar temple 
Avvanar temple 
Darbharanycsvarar temple 
Darbharanvcsvarar temple 
Ramanathasvamy temple 
(Panchavan Madevi 
Isvaram) 

Ramanathasvamy temple 
(Panchavan Madevi 
Isvaram) 

Ramanathasvamy temple 
(Panchavan Madevi 
Isvaram) 

Ramanathasvamy temple 
(Panchavan Madevi 
Isvaram) 

Ramanathasvamy temple 
i.Panchavan Madevi 
Isvaram) 

Ramanathasvamv temple 
^ Panchavan N ladev i 
Isvaram) 


Subrahmanyar 
Vrishabhantikar (bronze) 

Nandi kesvarar (bronze) 

Tani Amman (bronze) 
Bhogasakti (bronze) 

Nataraja and Sivakami ( bronze) 
Somaskandar (bronze) 
Karttikeya (bronze) 

Ganapati 
Adhikara Nandi 
Nataraja 

Bhikshatanar (on a pillar) 

Uma 

Brahma 

Dakshinamurti 

Bhairavar 

Kannappar (bronze) 

Karaikkal Ammaiyar (bronze) 
Chandesvarar (bronze) 
Cheraman Perumal (bronze) 
Nataraja and Sivakami (bronze' 
Chandrasekharar and Uma 
(bronze) 

Bhogasakti 1 bronze) 
Bhikshatanar (bronze) 

Gopuram 

Temple — general view 
Ayyanar and Consorts 
Bhogasakti (bronze) 

Ganapati (bronze) 

General view 


Inscription (Rajcndra I) 

Dvarapala 

Dvarapala 

Sriviinana 


Lingodbhavar 



XXVI 11 


Plate Place 

No. 

Temple 

Description 

259. Ramanathankoyil 

Rainanathasvamv temple 
(Panchavan Madevi 
Isvaram) 

Bhikshatanar 

260. Ramanathankoyil 

Ramanathasvamv temple 
(Panchavan Madevi 
Isvaram) 

Ardhanari 

26 1 . Ramanathankoyil 

Ramanathasvamy temple 
(Panchavan Madevi 
Isvaram) 

Gangadharar 

262. Tiruvaiyaru 

Ten Kailasam 

Ganapati 

263. Tiruvaiyaru 

Ten Kailasam 

Brahma 

264. Tiruvaiyaru 

Ten Kailasam 

Durga 

265. Tiruvaiyaru 

Ten Kailasam 

General view 

266. Tiruvaiyaru 

Ten Kailasam 

Xolamba pillars in the peristyle 

267. Tiruvarur 

Thyagarajasvami temple 

General view with Kamalalayam 
tank in foreground 

267. Tirmarur 

Thyagarajasvami temple 

Rajanaravanan tirumandapam 

269. Tiruvarur 

"Thyagarajasvami temple 

Devasrivan mandapam 

270. Tiruvarur 

Thyagarajasvami temple 

Achalesvaram with the hall in fron 

271. Tiruvarur 

Thyagarajasvami temple 

Manu Niti Cholan episode — the 
chariot crushing the calf 

272. Tiruvarur 

Thyagarajasvami temple 

Manu Niti Cholan episode — The 
horse 

273. Tiruvarur 

Thyagarajasvami temple 

Manu Niti Cholan episode — The 
cow demanding justice 

274. Tirmarur 

Thyagarajasvami temple 

Manu Niti Cholan episode— The 
prince crushed 

27 5. Panaiyavaram 

Netroddharakasvamin 

temple 

Annapurna 

276. Panaiyavaram 

Netroddharakasvamin 

temple 

Durga 

277. Panaiyavaram 

Netroddharakasvami n 

Yirabhadrar and Ganapati 


temple 

( Saptamatrika group) 

278. Ku\am 

Tripurantakesv aram 

Ganapati 

279. Ku\am 

Tripurantakesvaram 

Dakshinamurti 

280. Knvam 

Tripurantakesvaram 

Lingodbhavar 

281. Kuvam 

Tripurantakesvaram 

Brahma 

282. Kuvam 

Tripurantakesvaram 

Durga 

283. Tiruppasui 

Yachisvaram temple 

Srivimana f south-west) 

284. Tiruppasur 

Yachisvaram temple 

Srivimana (south-west) 

285. Tiruppasur 

Yachisvaram temple 

Srivimana, garbhagriha, 
outer wall (north-west) 

288. Tiruppasur 

Yachisvaram temple 

Upper tala — North face 

287. Tiruppasur 

Yachisvaram temple 

Upper tala —West face 

288. Tiruppasur 

Yachisvaram temple 

Upper tala — North face 
( north section ) 

289. Tiruppasur 

Ya< hisvaram temple 

Upper tala South fare 

290. Tiruppasur 

Yachisvaram temple 

Dvarapala 



XXIX 


Plate Place 

jXo. 

Temple 

Description 

291. Tiruppasur 

Vachisvaram temple 

Dvarapaia 

292. Tiruppasur 

Vachisvaram temple 

Virabhadrar 

293. Tiruppasur 

Vachisvaram temple 

Bhairavar 

294. Tiruppasur 

Vachisvaram temple 

Ganapati 

295. Tiruppasur 

Vachisvaram temple 

Lingodbhavar 

296. Tiruppasur 

Vachisvaram temple 

Brahma 

297. Tiruppasur 

Vachisvaram temple 

Durga 

298. Tiruppasur 

Vachisvaram temple 

Somaskandar (bronze) 

299. Tiruppasur 

Vachisvaram temple 

Tani Amman (bronze) 

300. Tiruvorriyur 

Adipurisvarar temple 

Apsidal Srivimana — East view 

301. Tiruvorriyur 

Adipurisvarar temple 

Apsidal Srivimana — rear view 

302. Tiruvorriyur 

Adipurisvarar temple 

Apsidal Srivimana — -side view 

303. Tiruvorriyur 

Adipurisvarar temple 

Dakshinamurti 

304. Tiruvorriyur 

Adipurisvarar temple 

Vishnu 

305. Tiruvorriyur 

Adipurisvarar temple 

Brahma 

306. Tiruvorriyur 

Adipurisvarar temple 

Durga 

307. Tiruvorriyur 

Adipurisvarar temple 

Nataraja shrine 

308. Tiruvorriyur 

Adipurisvarar temple 

Ekapadamurti — niche figure, 
rear of Nataraja shrine 

309. Tiruvorriyur 

Adipurisvarar temple 

Kali 

310. Tiruvorriyur 

Adipurisvarar temple 

Ganapati 

311. Tiruvorriyur 

Adipurisvarar temple 

Panchamukha Ganapati 

312. Tiruvorriyur 

Adipurisvarar temple 

Subrahmanyar 

313. Tiruvorriyur 

Adipurisvarar temple 

Gaulisa 

314. Tiruvorriyur 

Adipurisvarar temple 

Adi-Sankaracharya, with 
disciples 

315. Kulambanda 

Jagannathesvarar temple 
(Gangaikondasolisvaram) 

General view ( before renovation) 

316. Kulambandal 

Jagannathesvarar temple 
(Gangaikondasolisvaram) 

General view ( before renovation) 

317. Kulambanda) 

Jagannathesvarar temple 
(Gangaikondasolisvaram) 

General view ( after renovation ) 

318. Kulambandal 

Jagannathesvarar temple 
( Gangaikondasolisvaram) 

Garbhagriha, west face 

319. Kulambandal 

Jagannathesvarar temple 
(Gangaikondasolisvaram) 

Bhikshatanar 

320. Kulambandal 

Jagannathesvarar temple 

Dakshinamurti 

321. Kulambandal 

Jagannathesvarar temple 
(Gangaikondasolisvaram) 

Lingodbhavar 

322. Kulambandal 

Jagannathesvarar temple 
(Gangaikondasolisvaram ) 

Brahma 

323. Kulambandal 

Jagannathesvarar temple 
(Gagaikondasolisvaram) 

Durga 

324. Kulambandal 

Jagannathesvarar temple 
(Gangaikondasolisvaram) 

Dakshinamuiti 

igriva) 

325. Mannarkoyil 

Rajagopalasvamin temple 

Srivimana, west view 

326, Mannarkoyil 

Rajagopalasvamin temple 

Garbhagriha 



xxx 


Plate Place 

No. 

Temple 

Description 

327. Mannarko\il 

Rajagopalas van tin temple 

Garbhagriha, adhishthanam 
mouldings 

328. Mannarkoyil 

Rajagopalasvamin temple 

Rasi-Chakram, wood-carving 

329. Mannarko>il 

Rajagopalasvamin temple 

Kulasekhara Alvar shrine 

330. Sitibcta 

Bhairavar temple 

Srivimana 

331. Sitibcta 

Bhairavar temple 

Garbhagriha wall, with Bhairavar 

332. Sitibeta 

Bhairavar temple 

Somaskandar (bronze) 

333. Sitibeta 

Bhairavar temple 

Bhairavar (bronze) 

334. Kolar 

Kolaramma temple 

Garbhagriha (west face) with 
Rajendra 1’s shrine (extreme right) 

335. Kolar 

Kolaramma temple 

Rajendra shrine, adhishthanam 
mouldings, with Rajendra's 
inscription 

336. Kolar 

Kolaramma temple 

Central shrine, srivimana 
superstructure 

337. Kolar 

Kolaramma temple 

Another view 

338. Tiruvalangadu 

Vataranya temple 

Xataraja (bronze, Madras 
Museum) 

339. Tiruvalangadu 

Vataranva temple 

Urdhvatandavamurti (bronze) 

340. Tiruvalangadu 

Vataranya temple 

Kali (bronze) 

341. Tribhuvani 

Varadaraja Pertimal 
temple 

General view 

342. Tribhuvani 

Varadaraja Perumal 
temple 

Garbhagriha 

343. Tribhuvani 

Varadaraja Perumal 
temple 

Upapitham and adhishthanam 

344. Tribhuvani 

Varadaraja Perumal 
temple 

Miniature panel in adhishthanam 

345. Tribhuvani 

Varadaraja Perumal 
temple 

Miniature panel in adhishthanam 

346. Tribhuvani 

Varadaraja Perumal 
temple 

Miniature panel in adhishthanam 

347. Mannargudi 

Kailasanathar temple 

Somaskandar (bronze) 

348. Mannargudi 

Kailasanathar temple 

Adhishthanam of gopuram 
(Rajadhiraja I’s inscription) 

349. Tiruvengadu 

Tanjavur Art Gallery 

Bhikshatanar (bronze) 

350. Tiruvengadu 

Madras Museum 

Ardhanarisvarar (front view) 
(bronze) 

351. Tiruvengadu 

Madras Museum 

Ardhanarisvarar (rear view) 
(bronze) 

352. Olakkur 

Agastyesvarar temple 

Srivimana 

353. Olakkur 

Agastyesvarar temple 

Dakshinamurti 

354. Olakkur 

Agastyesvarar temple 

Bhairavar 

355- Vikkanampundi 

Vijayalayasolisvaram 

General view 

356. Vikkanampundi 

Vijayalayasolisvaram 

Chandesvarar 

357. Vikkanampundi 

Vijayalayasolisvaram 

Ganapati 

358. Vikkanampundi 

Vijayalayasolisvaram 

Virabhadrar 

359. Vikkanampundi 

V ijayalayasolisvaram 

Chamunda 



XXXI 


Plate 

No. 

Place 

Temple 

Description 

360 . 

Vikkanampundi 

Yijayalayasolisvaram 

Varahi — 1 

361 . 

Vikkanampundi 

Yijayalayasolisvaram 

Brahmi 

362 . 

Kothamangalam 

V ishnu temple 
(Rajakesari Yinnagarain’i 

General view 

363 - 

Gopurappatti 

Pachchil Amalisvaram 

General view 

364 - 

Gopurappatti 

Pachchil Amalisvaram 

Adhishthanam mouldings 

3 6 5- 

Gopurappatti 

Pachchil Amalisvaram 

Inscription on the adhishthanam 
(Rajaraja I) 

366 . 

Gopurappatti 

Pachchil Amalisvaram 

Dakshinamurti 

3 6 7- 

Gopurappatti 

Pachchil Amalisvaram 

Hariharar 

368 . 

Gopurappatti 

Pachchil Amalisvaram 

Brahma 

369 - 

Gopurappatti 

Pachchil Amalisvaram 

Durga 

370. 

Tiruppainjili 

Nilivanesvarar temple 

Ardhanari 

371- 

Tiruppainjili 

Nilivanesvarar temple 

Dakshinamurti 

372- 

Tiruppainjili 

Nilivanesvarar temple 

Bhikshatanar 

373- 

Tiruppainjili 

Nilivanesvarar temple 

Amman (bronze) 

374- 

Tiruppainjili 

Nilivanesvarar temple 

Amman (bronze) (rear view) 

375- 

Tiruppainjili 

Nilivanesvarar temple 

Siva and Uma (bronze) 

376. 

Tiruvasi 

Marrurai-varadesvarar 

temple 

Srivimana 

377- 

Tiruvasi 

Marrurai-varadesyarar 
temple / 

Ganapati 

378- 

Tiruvasi 

Marrurai-varadesvarar 

temple 

Dakshinamurti 

379- 

Tiruvasi 

Marrurai-varadesvarar 

temple 

Ardhanari 

380 . 

Tiruvasi 

MarruraKvaradesvarar 

temple 

Durga 

381 . 

Tiruvasi 

Marrurai-varadesvarar 

temple 

Bhairavar 

382 . 

Tiruvasi 

Marrurai-varadesvarar 

temple 

Bhogasakti (bronze) 

383 - 

Tiruvanaikka 

J ambukes varam 

Subrahmanyar 

384 - 

Tiruvanaikka 

Jambukesvaram 

Dakshinamurti 

385 - 

Tiruvanaikka 

Jambukesvaram 

Nataraja (bronze) 

386 . 

Tiruvanaikka 

Jambukesvaram 

Sivakama Sundari (bronze) 

387 - 

Tiruvanaikka 

Jambukesvaram 

Adhikaranandi (bronze) 

388 . 

Tiruvanaikka 

Jambukesvaram 

Bhairavar (bronze) 

389 - 

Tiruvanaikka 

Jambukesvaram 

Ganapati (bronze) 

39°- 

Paluvur 

Sundaresvarar temple 

Ghandesvarar 

39 1 - 

Paluvur 

vSundaresvarar temple 

General view (front) 

392. 

Paluvur 

Sundaresvarar temple 

Inscription (Paluvur Nakkan 
Koyil) 

393- 

Ghakkarapalli 

Chakra vagesvarar temple 

General view 

394- 

Ghakkarapalli 

Chakravagesvarar temple 

Inscription (Rajaraja I) 

395- 

Ghakkarapalli 

Chakravagesvarar temple 

Makara toratta 

396. 

Ghakkarapalli 

Chakravagesvarar temple 

Surya (headless) 

397- 

Ghakkarapalli 

Chakravagesvarar temple 

Lingodbhavar 



XXX11 


Plots Place Temple Description 

No. 


398. Tenner i 

399. Tenneri 

400. Tenneri 

40 1 . Tenneri 

402. Tenneri 

403. Tenneri 

404. Tenneri 

405. Tenneri 

406. Taadi-Malingi 

407. Sivapuram 

408. Tanjavur 

409. Konerirajapuram 

410. Vadakkuppanaiyur 


Kandaiisvarar temple 
Kandalisvarar temple 
Kandaiisvarar temple 
Kandalisvarar temple 
Kandaiisvarar temple 
Kandalisvarar temple 
Kandalisvarar temple 
Kandalisvarar temple 
Treasure trove 
Treasure trove 
Treasure trove 
Uma-Mahesvarar temple 

Madras Museum 


General view 
North wall 

Rajaraja I’s inscription 

D vara pa la 

Dvarapala 

Dakshinamutti 

Vishnu 

Brahma 

Kali (Early Chola) 

Nataraja (bronze), original 

Nisumbhasudani 

Nataraja 

(bronze, giant size) 

Rama, Lakshmana, Sita and 
Hanuman 


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS FOR PHOTOGRAPHS: COURTESY OF THE 

1. Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi: Pis 1-3. 

2. Director, The French Institute of Indology, Pondichery: Pis 7-16, 32-38, 81-85, 100- 105, 
121-125, i 37 -I 4 °> 209-231, 244-247, 250-252, 303 - 3 i 4 » 319-322, 341-346, 355 - 36 i. 

3. Director of Archaeology, Government of Tamilnadu: Pis 106-113, 141, 283-293, 338, 
350-351 (Madras Museum). 

4. American Academy of Indian Studies, Varanasi: Pis 300-302. 






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1 


Rajaraja I 

(A.D. 985 to 1014) 


The Cholas were one of the greatest and most gifted of the dynas- 
ties which ruled in India; they held sway for a continuous period 
of about 430 years (a.d. 850-1280). In comparison, the Mauryas 
ruled only for about 137 years (b.c. 322-185), and the Guptas 
for about 223 years (a.d. 320-543). The Vijayanagara empire 
lasted for about 340 years (a.d. 1336-1676) with claim to great- 
ness only for the first 200 years thereof, i.e., till a.d. 1565. 

Rajaraja I can legitimately claim to have laid the real foun- 
dations for the glory and longevity of the Chola empire. He was 
a great soldier and general like Alexander of Macedon, Julius 
Caesar and Hannibal. The Cholas had the great good fortune of 
his being followed by a line of successors equally adept in the arts 
of war and administration. His son Rajendra I and his grandsons 
Rajadhiraja I, Rajendradeva II and Virarajendra, who followed 
him on the throne in that order, each has a claim to be rankde 
among the greatest generals of their or any other age — a unique 
record in the history of mankind. The Cholas were no less great 
in the fields of administration, culture and art. They were the 
greatest temple builders India has known, and during the period 
under survey, in particular, their achievements in this held 
attained unprecedented and unsurpassed heights. Their temples 
were built not only in their homeland but also in the conquered 
territories, extending from Sri Lanka in the south to the river 
basins of the Tungabhadra and the Godavari and even as far as 
the Mahendra hills (in modern Ganjam district of Orissa) 1 in 



2 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


the north; in addition, permission was granted to the Sailendra 
kings of Sri Vijaya and Kadaram for the erection of (Buddhist) 
temples and viharas at Nagappattinam. A few Jain temples were 
also built in this period. 

Rajaraja I was the son of Sundara Chola alias Parantaka II 
by his queen Vanavan Mahadevi. The Tiruvalangadu Plates 
mention that “at the birth of Arulmolidevan (future Rajaraja I), 
the wives of the serpent Adisesha, who carries the earth on his 
shoulders, danced for joy on the belief that he (Arulmolidevan) 
would relieve their husband of the burden of bearing the earth.” 
(SII, III, 19). He was born under the asterism Satabhishak ( Sada - 
yam in Tamil) in the month of Aippasi (SII, II, 26; also Travan- 
core Archaeological Series, I, p. 292). In his formative years, 
he came under the powerful and constructive influence of his 
great-grand-aunt Sembiyan Mahadevi (the queen of Gandara- 
ditya and mother of Uttama Chola) and of his own elder sister 
Kundavai. It was the people’s wish even during his boyhood 
that he should succeed his father to the Chola throne in order to 
“dispel the darkness of the Kali age”. But Arulmolidevan (as 
he was then known) resisted the popular pressure and gracefully 
let his paternal uncle ascend the throne since the latter greatly 
coveted it. In this act, Rajaraja I exhibited not only great self- 
denial but political insight and statesmanship as well. He, 
however, associated himself with his uncle as heir-apparent and 
allowed the latter’s son Madhurantaka to wield great influence 
and political power even after his own accession to the Chola 
throne.* 

The Chola kings called themselves alternately Parakesari- 
varman (Vijayalaya being the first such) and Rajakesarivarman 
(Aditya I being the first such). Occasionally, embellished forms 
of these titles were used. There is one inscription of Vijayalaya’s 
which describes him as “Tanjai-kotta-ko-parakesaripanmar”, i.e., 
the Parakesari who took (conquered) Tanjavur. Aditya I was 
generally known only as Rajakesarivarman, but his Tillaisthanam 
inscription calls him ‘‘‘Tondai-nadu-paavina Cholan” — the Chola 


*See Appendix on the Tiruvalangadu Copper Plates. 



RAJARAJA I 


3 


who overran the Tondai (Pallava) country. His son and suc- 
cessor, Parantaka I, was known as “ Madiraiyum Ilamum konda 
Kop-Parakesarivarman” . Rajaraja I made a notable departure from 
prior practice by introducing in the prasasti part of his inscrip- 
tions an up-to-date account of the conquests and other achievements 
of his reign, so that, as the years go by, we find the prasasti increas- 
ing in size. His earliest inscriptions describe him as “ Salai-kalam- 
arutta ” or “ Kandalur-salai-kalam-arutta” — one who destroyed 
the (Chera) fleet at Kandalur Salai (on the west coast between 
Kanya Kumari and Trivandrum) 2 . From his eighth regnal year, 
however, his inscriptions begin with the historical introduction 
of “ Tirumagal pola”. The prasastis generally describe his conquests 
in chronological order, giving particulars of great value for the 
historian and belying the notion generally prevalent among 
western historians that Indians had no historical sense.* This 
innovation of his was happily continued and indeed considerably 
elaborated by his successors and later by the Pandyas as well, 
and the prasastis of these rulers form perhaps the most valuable 
source for the reconstruction of the history of the land. While the 
originals (in copper plates or palm-leaf manuscripts) of grants, 
royal writs and other documents have been mostly lost in the 
course of the political convulsions that the country passed through, 
it is fortunate that copies thereof, so assiduously made and preserv- 
ed for us by having them engraved on the sacred walls of stone- 
temples built by them in such large numbers, have come down to 
us for our knowledge and enlightenment. 

According to the prasastis of Rajaraja I, his first important 
conquest was over the Cheras already referred to, the Chera 
contemporary being Bhaskara Ravivarman Tiruvadi (a.d. 
978-1036). He destroyed the Chera fleet at Kandalur Salai and 


*A learned French art critic, Marguerita Marie Deneck, in her recent book, Indian Art, The 
Colour Library of Art, Hamlyn (Oxford), makes the following observations 

“It is difficult to know anything about Indian History, particularly, early history. It is often 
considered that the Indian mind does not possess an historical sense because it is unused to thinking of the 
past in terms of sequence and was slow to record chronological history : External events alone allowed 
scholars to date certain facts accurately.” (italics ours) 

South Indian inscriptions — especially those of Rajaraja I and his successors — will disprove 
this sweeping and erroneous generalisation due to prejudice or ignorance. 



4 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


captured Vilijnam and the fort of Udagai (north-west of Nager- 
koyil in the Kanya Kumari district) . He also defeated the Pandya 
king Amarabhujanga and annexed the Pandyan territory, 
after which victory he claims to have “destroyed the splendour 
of the Pandyas.” Certain territories, known as Sitpuli nadu and 
Pakki nadu, which had been annexed to the Chola kingdom 
under Parantaka I but were lost to the Rashtrakutas after 
the battle of Takkolam, were brought back into the Chola 
dominion by Rajaraja I, as we learn from a Kanchipuram inscrip- 
tion of his sixth regnal year (are 79 of 1921). He next conquer- 
ed the Vengi country and supported Saktivarman and his 
brother Vimaladitya of the Eastern Chalukyas against their 
rivals. Rajaraja’s daughter (the younger), Kundavai, was given 
in marriage to Vimaladitya by way of fostering close ties between 
the two dynasties to foil the designs of the Western Chalukyag 
under Satyasraya on the Eastern Chalukyan kingdom. Gangapadi, 
Tadigaipadi and Nolambapadi consisting of parts of southern 
and eastern Karnataka and of the north-western districts of Tamil 
Nadu (North Arcot, Salem, Dharmapuri etc.) as also portions 
of Andhra Pradesh (districts of Kurnool, Anantapur etc.) were 
annexed to the Chola empire. So were Kollam and Kudamalai 
Nadu (Coorg). The land of the Rashtrakutas, called Irattaipadi- 
elarai-laksham (Rattapadi — 7,50,000), which had been already- 
overrun by the Western Chalukyas, was also conquered and 
added to the Chola empire. Then the kingdom of Kalinga, lying 
between the Godavari and the Mahanadi rivers, was overrun. 
Rajaraja I then invaded Ila-mandalain (Sri Lanka) and annexed 
it. According to the Tiruvalangadu Plates, Rajaraja I “excelled 
Sri Rama by crossing the sea, not with the aid of a causeway 
built by monkeys but by using ships and conquering Lanka” 
(verse Boj. By this time, the naval supremacy of the Cholas had 
been well-established in the Indian Ocean, and his reign cul- 
minated with the conquest of the 12,000 islands off the western 
( Arabian) sea. Thus his kingdom extended from Sri Lanka in 
the south to the basin of tiie Tungabhadra in the north and 
Mahendragiri (The Mahendra mountains) in the north-east. 

Rajaraja I seems to have raised and maintained a large 



RAJA RAJ A I 


0 


standing army. A Western Chalukya inscription at Hottur (in 
Dharwar district of Karnataka State) avers that the Chola army 
which fought a bloody battle there under the command of his 
son Raj’endra I against Satyasraya of the Western Chalukyas 
consisted of nine lakhs of soldiers. The total strength of the stand- 
ing army must thus have been considerably larger than this 
figure, when we take into account his engagements in other 
sectors such as the Pandya country, Malainadu, Vengi and Sri 
Lanka. The fact that the commanders of the various armies 
dreaded defeat and the consequent wrath of the king is evident 
from the endowments made by a large number of them to the 
Rajarajesvaram temple at Tanjavur, seeking divine blessings 
for averting defeat. 

Rajaraja I organised a highly bureaucratic system of adminis- 
tration which aimed at central stability and local autonomy. 
His revenue administration in particular was noteworthy. By 
his seventeenth regnal year, he had completed a land survey 
of his empire; land as small in extent as 1/52,428,800,000 of a 
veli was measured and assessed to revenue; there was an elaborate 
cadre of revenue officers such as accountants, ledger-keepers, 
issuers of royal orders and executors of royal decrees, at all levels 
— village, district and central. It is a pity that most of the original 
documents have disappeared and we have to content ourselves 
with just a few glimpses of the elaborateness and complexity 
of the revenue organization, as can be gleaned from stone inscrip- 
tions and royal copper plate grants such as the Larger Leyden 
Grant. It is of interest to note that some decades later in England, 
William I (the Conqueror) organized the land-survey recorded 
in the Domesday Book. Rajaraja’s survey was as elaborate as 
that of William I, as evidenced by the detailed descriptions of 
the lands, boundaries, systems of irrigation, revenues to be col- 
lected and revenue-exemptions in respect of lands endowed to 
Rajarajesvaram and other temples in his vast empire. 

Before his accession to the throne, Rajaraja was known as 
Arulmoli (Devan). His other titles and surnames are: Rajarajan, 
Kshatriya Sikhamani, Rajendra Simhan, Uyyakkondan, Pandya 
Kulasani, Keralantakan, Nittavinodan, Rajasrayan, Sivapada- 



6 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


sekharan, Jana-nathan, Ravikula Manikkam, Nigarili Cholan, 
Cholendra Simhan, Chola Marttandan, Raja Marttandan, 
Telunga-kula-kalan, Kirti Parakraman, Mummadi Solan, Chola 
Narayanan, Jayangonda Solan, Singalantakan, Taila-kula-kalan 
and others (are 78 of 1930-31). 

Of the many queens of Rajaraja I, the Chief one was Loga 
Mahadevi alias Danti Sakti Vitanki. Of the others, Vanavan 
Mahadevi alias Tribhuvana Mahadevi has the distinction of 
being the mother of Rajendra I. The others were : Chola Mahadevi 
Trailokya Mahadevi, Panchavan Mahadevi, Abhimanavalli, 
Lata Mahadevi, Prithvi Mahadevi, Meenavan Mahadevi, Vira- 
narayani and Villavan Mahadevi. Many of them have either 
built temples of their own or donated bronzes to temples. 

The greatest event of the life of Rajaraja I was the building 
of the Rajarajesvaram at Tanjavur. Some hold that there was 
an older temple in that place called that of Tanjait-tirut-talik- 
kulattar mentioned in Appar’s Devaram, the Tiruttandagam, and that 
it was this temple that Rajaraja I rebuilt as the grandest stone- 
temple of all times. It may be remembered that he was a close 
associate and disciple of Sembiyan Mahadevi, who, as we know, 
rebuilt the Tirunallam temple of the Devaram hymns fame as 
the Gandaradityam and clearly stated the fact of such conver- 
sion in her dedicatory inscription at Konerirajapuram. If the 
older temple in Tanjavur had indeed been the nucleus of the 
Rajarajesvaram, Rajaraja would have followed his mentor’s 
example and explicitly stated that such a conversion had been 
effected. In the absence of such a statement, it seems inconceiv- 
able that the great temple would have been erected on an older 
foundation. 

Some hold that the stones for this temple came from the banks 
of the Narmada. This view appears rather far-fetched. The 
quarrying area for the stones used in this temple should have 
been the same as for the other innumerable temples of the region. 

The earliest reference to this temple occurs in the nineteenth 
regnal year of Rajaraja I. The stupik-kudam (copper pot for the 
hnial) was handed over to the temple authorities on the 2 75th 
day of the twenty-fifth year of his reign, and the consecration of 



RAJARAJA I 


7 


the temple should have taken place about that time. Rajaraja I 
seems to have died in or after his twenty-ninth regnal year; before 
his death, he ordered the recording on the srivimana of this temple 
all gifts to the temple made by himself, his elder sister, his queens 
and other donors ; these inscriptions contain, in particular, the 
fullest and most detailed description of the bronzes gifted by 
the king and other donors, incorporating such details as height, 
weight, metal-composition, whether solid or hollow, whether 
seated or standing, descriptions of the pitha and the prabha, num- 
ber of hands and (other) adjuncts, attendant deities, and numer- 
ous other details baffling the imagination — a record again 
unique in history. 

A fuller account of the temple will be found in the next chapter, 
which deals with the temples of the time of Rajaraja I.* 

Rajaraja I was a great king. All the elements were so mixed 
in him — piety, courage, liberality, gratitude, sweetness, courtesy, 
wisdom, intelligence, purity, tranquillity, dignity, mercy, for- 
bearance, vision, firmness of purpose, perseverance and devotion 
to the welfare of all — that Nature might stand up and say, 
“Here was not only a man, but a supreme leader of men\” 

The great qualities of the Chola family and their claims to 
to be leaders of men are brought out in the eulogy of the Court 
poet in the Larger Leyden Grant. 

“As long as the moon-crested deity (i.e. Siva) sports with 
His Consort on the Kailasa Mountain, as long as Hari (Vishnu) 
performs meditative sleep (Yoga-nidra) on the serpent-couch 
on the ocean of milk, and as long as the sole light of all the world 
dispels the dense darkness of the world, so long may the Chola 
family protect from danger the circle of the whole earth.” 
(verse 2) 


‘From a fragmentary inscription of Rajendra I found in the Pushpavanesvarar temple at 
Tiruppunturutti (ARE 120 of 1931), we learn that a donation of land was made to a Savarna 
named Naranan Bhattadittan for the reading of Sri-Rajaraja-vijayam. This must have been a 
composition in praise of Rajaraja I, recounting his great victories and was evidently different 
from the Rajarajesvara-nalakam, which was staged in the temple at Tanjavur (SII, II, p. 306). 
We do not know the language of this composition, whether it was Tamil or Sanskrit, nor have 
we any trace of it now. 



8 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


ttw srw fafdw wn;j k^Jl 

sfkl'HUsfl ffoff !T>TfT?RTTrfrr I 

srq^rfH cfrwi^ 

N *\ N 

TPTTTTFTT^DTfeT iT^DP^rF^T#?!: II 

The Cholas belonged to the Solar race, and to Rajaraja I 
was attributed the virtue of dispelling the dense darkness of the 
world and protecting his subjects from danger. 



RAJARAJA I 


9 


Notes 


i Mahendragiri is in die modern Ganjam district of Orissa. It lay on the border between the 
medieval kingdoms of Vengi and Kalinga. On this hill, there is a temple of Gokarnesvarar, with 
shrines for Kunti and Yudhishthirar. There are four undated inscriptions in this place. One of 
them (ARE 397 of 1896) is the Tamil version, in three fragments, of another in Telugu (ARE 
396 of 1896). The texts are fragmentary and no safe deductions could be drawn from them. 
They describe the setting up of two jayaslambhas (pillars of victory) on Mahendragiri by one 
Rajendra after he had defeated one Vimaladitya of the Kulutas. Venkayya, and following him, 
others, identified this Vimaladitya with the Vengi prince Vimaladitya (son of Vishnuvardhana 
of the Eastern Chalukyas) and concluded that he was defeated by Rajendra Chola in battle and 
taken prisoner to the Chola court. 

Recently, B. Venkatakrishna Rao, in his History of the Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi (written with 
a touch of chauvinism), has challenged the usual identification of the victor Rajendra and has 
postulated that the Mahendragiri battle should be ascribed to the period of Kulottunga 1 and as 
part of the Kalinga expedition ( a.d. 1093-96) and that the victor was Rajendra Chola, the Vela- 
nati viceroy of Vengi and a vassal of Kulottunga Ts. This identification seems far-fetched. My own 
view is that the victor at Mahendragiri was indeed Rajendra Chola I and that the vanquished 
was Vimaladitya of the Kulutas (ruling to the north of Vengi) and not Vimaladitya of the Eastern 
Chalukyas who presumably went to the Chola court of his own free will — and not as a prisoner of 
war — after being driven out of Vengi. The last-mentioned figures in an inscription of the twenty - 
ninth year of Rajaraja I as the donor of eight silver kalasams (finials) weighing 1,148 kalanjus to the 
Loga-Mahadevi Isvaram built at Tiruvaiyaru by Rajaraja Ts queen of that name. We know 
that he married Kundavai, daughter of Rajaraja I, and was restored to the rulership of Vengi 
with Chola help and ruled for seven years (a.d. 1015-22). It is not improbable that Rajendra 
Chola I subdued a recalcitrant chief at Mahendragiri to secure the borders of Vengi, of which 
he was the overlord. Another fragmentary inscription (ARE 858 of 1917) > n l h e neighbourhood 
mentions Rajendra and Madhuranlaka (surname of Rajendra I), thus confirming the control of 
this region by Rajendra I. 

As the Chola victory at Mahendragiri is not found included in the description of the Gangetic 
campaign of Rajendra Ts, it seems likely that it took place independently of and before it, in an 
effort to re-establish the Chola protege Vimaladitya on the Vengi throne and to help overcome 
the enemies on his borders. It seems safe to conclude that, at the close of Rajendra I s reign, 
Mahendragiri formed part of Vengi and of the Chola empire. 

2 “Kandalur-salai-kalam-aruttaruli” : This achievement claimed by Rajaraja I in his prasasti 
is usually taken to be a naval victory of the Cholas over the Chera fleet. 

But a new interpretation was offered by the late S. Desikavinayakam Pillai that it might 
mean that “the scale of feeding in the feeding-house of Kandalur was regulated by the king. 
(Kerala Society Papers, 2. pp. 100 ff). 

Again, the late T.N. Subrahmanyan, after discussing the salai, an academy established at 
I’arthivasekharapuram by Karunandadakkan, the Ay king of Venadu, concluded that Rajaraja I 
“might have, in the course of his southern expedition, come into conflict with the members o t e 
academy — a quasi-educational military' organization and must have used force in getting contro 
over it”. This explanation is far-fetched as Tamil kings never interfered in the normal functioning 
of local bodies except in cases of maladministration, defalcation or gross indiscipline. 

Further, he examined the use of the expression in a Rajakesarivarman inscription at Koyil 
Tevarayan-pettai (SII, XIII, no. 250) and advanced the view that this expression was used in the 
sense of “having gained a victory by defeating the opponents.” (South Indian Temple Inscrip- 
tions, III, Pt.II, 1-16). 

But he himself admitted that the term kalam might have more than one meaning, and that 



10 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


it might mean ship (note 4, p. 13), as is used in the prasasti of Rajendra I: “alai-kadal-naduvil- 
pala-kalam-selutti" . 

This exploit at Kandalur-salai is claimed by a few later Chola kings also; Rajendra I (ARE 
363 of 1917), Rajadhiraja I (SII, III, p. 56) and Kulottunga I. The Kalingattupparani sung by his 
Court poet on Kulottunga I, eulogises the king thus: “Was it not with his navy that Vilijnam on 
the sea was destroyed and Salai captured?” (Stanza 378). 

Again verse 91 of Kulottunga-Solan-Pillait-Tamil, a poem on Kulottunga II, describes that the 
hero with his army destroyed the fort of Vilijnam (on the west coast) and obtained the entire 
proceeds of the pearl-oysters at the Salai of Poraiyan (The Cheras) . The Salai of Poraiyan will 
mean only Kandalur-Salai of the Cheras. 

So, we will be justified in concluding that the expression ‘'Kandalurch-chalai-fCalam-arultaruli” 
means the naval victory of Rajaraja I over the Chera fleet at Kandalur-Salai. 



1 1 


RAJARAJA I 

Appendix on Tiruvalangadu Copper Plates 

The Tiruvalangadu Copper Plates of the sixth year of Rajendra Chola I, speaking of Rajaraja I, 
say : 

69. Though requested by the subjects (to occupy the Chola throne), in order to destroy 
the persistently blinding-darkness of the powerful Kali (age), Arunmolivarman, who under- 
stood the essence of royal conduct, desired not the kingdom for himself even in (his) mind, while 
his paternal uncle coveted his (i.e., Arumolivarman’s) dominions. 

70. Applying (his) mind to (the devotion of) Sarva (Siva) utilising (his) wealth in the act 
of performing His worship (employing) all (his) retinue in the construction of houses (i.e., temples) 
for Him, and directing (his) subjects to (regularly) perform His festive processions, (showing 
his) wrath (only) in the killing of enemies and (distributing his) riches among virtuous Brahma- 
nas, that king (Madhurantaka) bore on (his) broad shoulders, the (weight of the) earth. 

XXX 

72. Arunmolivarman was himself then installed in the administration of the kingdom (as 
if) to wash away the stain of the earth caused by the Kali (age) of his body (bathed by the water 
during the ceremony of installation); and the ends of the quarters heavily roared with the tumul- 
tuous sounds of the war-drums, rows of bells and bugles, kettle-drums, tambourines and conches. 

73. (Surely) the milky ocean formed itself into a circle in the shape of (his) parasol in the 
sky and came to see its (own) daughter Sri (Lakshmi) resting on the chest of this (king). 

74. Indeed, the ladies of (the lords of) the quarters, who were taken captive during the 
diguijaya (i. e., the conquest of the quarters), rendered (their) service to this victorious monarch 
with chowries (made) of (his) fame, lustrous as the shining moon-beams. 

75. Although, in the tulabhara (ceremony), the king was weighed against gold-pieces in the 
scales {tula), he was still (found) a -tula (i.e., unequalled). (Hence,) it is difficult to comprehend 
the greatness of the great. 

76. This king — a pile of matchless prosperity, majesty, learning, strength of arm, prowess, 
heroism and courage — invaded and conquered, in order, (all) the quarters commencing with 
the direction of Trisanku (i.e., the south). 

77. The moon as if to afford protection to the Pandya king born in his own family, and 
thinking (unto himself) “I am also a raja (king), became the white parasol of this (king) who 
was intent upon conquering that (southern) quarter. 

78. (King) Amarabhujanga being seized, (other) dissolute kings, whose rule was secretly 
mischievous, being much afraid of him at heart, wishes to hide (themselves) somewhere (just 
like serpents with sliding crooked bodies). 

79. The commandant of (this) ornament of the Solar race, the hereditary home of (the 
Goddess of) victory, captured (the town of ) Vilinda whose moat was the sea, whose extensive 
ramparts were glorious and high (and) which was impregnable to the enemy warriors. 

80. The Lord of the Raghavas (i.e., Rama) constructing a bridge across the waters of the 
ocean with (the assistance of) able monkey's, killed with great difficulty the king of Lanka (i.e. 
Ravana) with sharp-edged arrows ; (but,) this terrible General of that (king) Arunmolivarman 
crossed the ocean by ships and burnt the Lord of Lanka (Ceylon). Hence Rama is (surely) sur- 
passed by this (Chola General). 

81. This is strange that though Satyasraya fled to avoid misery from the attack of his (i.e. 
Arunmolivarman’s) ocean-like army, (still) misery found a (permanent) abode in him. But 
this is not strange, that his flight is due to (i.e., is the result of) his birth from Taila. 

82. “Since Rajaraja, an expert in war, of the (same) name as myself, has been killed by a 
powerful club, I shall, therefore, kill that Andhra (king) called Bhima though (he may be) 
faultless.” So saying, he (Arunmolivarman) killed him (i.e. Bhima) with a mace. 

83. Having conquered the country (which w r as) the creation of Rama (i.e. Parasurama) 
whose beloved vow was to annihilate the whole ot the Kshatra (Kshatriya) race the country 



MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


I 2 

which was adorned with pious people, was matchless and inaccessible on account of the mountains 
and the ocean, he caused abundant joy to all kings that held a bow (in their hands), (and made) 
his commands shine on the rows of the diadems of all rulers of the earth. 

84 Having subdued in battle the Ganga, Kalinga, Vanga, Magadha, Aratta, Odda, Sau- 
rashtra, Ghalukya and other kings, and having received homage from them, the glorious Raja- 
raja — a rising sun in opening the groups of lotuses, viz., the faces of crowds of learned men — 
ruled the earth whose girdle is the water of all oceans.” 



RAJARAJA I 

Inscriptional References — General 


13 


1. Larger Leyden Grant (Rajaraja I and Rajendra I) ; Epigraphia Indica XXII, 34. 

2. Tiruvalangadu Copper Plate Grant ; sixth year of Rajendra I ; SII, III, Pt. Ill, 205. 

3. Karandai Tamil Sangam Copper Plate Grant ; eighth year of Rajendra I; Annual Report 
on Indian Epigraphy 1949-50 ; Section A, 57 and 58. 

4. Journal of Oriental Research ; XIX, Part II. 

5. Kalidindi Grant of the Eastern Chalukya King Rajaraja I (Narendra) ; Epigraphia Indica 
XXIX, Pt. Ill, 8. 

6. Kanyakumari Stone Inscription of Vira Rajendra ; Epigraphia Indica XV and XVIII. 

7. Tirumukkudai Stone Inscription of the fifth year of Vira Rajendra ; Epigraphia Indica 
XXI, 38. 

8. Charla Plates of the seventh year of Vira Rajendra — Saka 991 — a. d. 1069 ; Epigraphia 
Indica XXV. 

g. South Indian Inscriptions Vol. II, Pts. I to V. 

10. Tirukkalar Plate of Rajendra Chola I, eighteenth regnal year ; SII, III, Pt. IV, 207. 

It registers the extent of devadana lands belonging to the temple of Mahadevar at Tiruk- 
kalar. 

11. Tirukkalar Plate of Rajadhiraja I, thirty-first regnal year ; SII, III, Pt. IV, 208. 
Tirukkalar is 16 kms south-east of Mannargudi, Tanjavur District. 

The historical introduction states that the king took the head of Vira Pandya, Salai of the 
Chera king and Ilangai (Sri Lanka). 



2 


Temples of Rajaraja I’s Time 


TANJAVUR 

x RAJARAJESVARAM 

This great temple, the grandest of the Chola monuments, was 
named Sri Rajarajesvaram, after its builder, Rajaraja I, as the 
earliest inscriptions on its srivimana testify. We do not know 
when exactly its construction began, but it might have been some 
time in or before the nineteenth regnal year of the king. (The 
title “Rajaraja” appears for the first time only in the records of 
his nineteenth regnal year.) 

The temple was built of stone which might have been 
brought from a hillock called Mammalai, eight miles (13 kms) 
from Tiruchirapalli and about thirty miles (48 kms) from 
Tanjavur. 

The first-to-be-engraved and most important inscription on 
the walls of the temple (SII, II, 1) consists of 107 paragraphs; 
the engraving was begun on an order of the king issued on the 
20th day of his twenty-sixth regnal year, and the inscription 
continues into the twenty-ninth (the last known) regnal year of 
the king. The first fifty paragraphs describe— in chronological 
order, with the solitary exception of para 18 referring to the 
stupi (for the final consecration ceremony) being handed over 
by the king on the 275th day of his twenty-fifth regnal year — 
various gifts made by the king and others to the temple between 
his twenty-fifth and twenty-ninth regnal years, while paras 51 



i5 


TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 

to 107 detail a miscellaneous collection of such gifts made between 
the twenty-third and twenty-ninth regnal years. It appears that 
in his twenty-ninth year, the king had a premonition of his 
approaching end, and so he was anxious to have all the gifts made 
so far placed on permanent record in stone on the walls of the 
temple itself. The first paragraph contains the customary Sanskrit 
historical introduction: “Etad visva-nrpa sreni mouli malopalalitam 
sasanam Rajarajasya Rajakesarivarmanah ” and the Tamil one begin- 
ning with “ Tirumagal pola” . The initial order for the recording 
of the gifts was made by the king from the royal bathing hall 
(1 tiru-manjana-salai ) lying to the east of the hall of Irumadi Cholan 
in the palace at Tanjavur, and directs that the gifts made by 
the king himself, his elder sister, his queens and other donors to 
“the sacred stone temple ( tiruk-karrali ) called Sri Rajarajesvaram 
which we have caused to be built at Tanjavur” be engraved on 
the srivimana. Paragraphs 3-4 refer to gifts made in the twenty-fifth 
year, 312th day; paras 5-9 in the twenty-sixth year, 14th day; 
paras 10-16 in the twenty-sixth year, 27th day; para 17 in the 
twenty-sixth year, 34th day; para 18 (breaking the chronological 
order of the list, as mentioned above) in the twenty-fifth year, 
275th day; paras 19-32 in the twenty -sixth year, 104th day; 
para 33 in the twenty-sixth year, 318th day; paras 34-50 in the 
twenty-sixth year, 319th day; and finally, paras 51-107 various 
gifts made between the twenty-third and twenty-ninth regnal 
years. Here again paras 51-54 refer to gifts made by the king, 
partly from his treasury and partly out of the booty obtained 
after his victory “over the Cheras and the Pandyas of Malai 
nadu”; paras 55-91 list the gifts of the king after the conferment 
on him of the titles of ‘Sivapada-sekhara’ and ‘Sri Rajaraja’ ; 
and paras 92-107 list the gifts made after his victory over Satya- 
sraya of the Western Chalukyas. 

As stated earlier, we do not know when exactly the construc- 
tion of the temple began. It must have attracted many gifts soon 
after the start and during the adhivasa stage itself. It is clear from 
para 18 of the inscription that the final consecration should have 
taken place (with the installation of the stupi) on the 275th day 
of the twenty-fifth year. 


1 6 MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 

The Temple Complex : 

Rajarajesvaram may justly be called Devalaya-chakravarti * — 
an Emperor among temples; among other reasons, it stands on 
the highest point in the entire neighbourhood of Tanjavur, the 
capital and citadel of the Chola empire and dominates the sky- 
line for miles. Both in its simplicity and in its grandeur, it has 
very few compeers. 

The temple complex covers an overall area of the size of a 
rectangle of 240.79 ms east to west and 121.92 ms north to south. 
It consists of the srivimana, the ardhamandapa , the mahamandapa , 
the mukhamandapa and a Mandi-mandapa in front. There is a vast 
courtyard with a circumscribing tiruch-churru-maligai (a columned, 
raised, covered verandah), measuring 152.40 ms in length and 
77.20 ms in breadth. Outside this wall, there are two further 
walls of enclosure, the outer being a defensive one with bastions 
and gun-holes. In the courtyard (or prakara), there are shrines 
for Amman and Subrahmanyar, which are the major ones, and 
a number of other smaller ones. A later mandapa in the north- 
eastern corner of the courtyard and two gopurams in the eastern 
perimeter walls complete the complex. 


* The temple of Mahadeva at Ittagi, a small town in the Raichur Doab 22 miles (35 kms) 
east of the railway station of Gadag on the South Central Railway, is a later Chalukyan 
temple built by Mahadeva, the Dandanayaka of Vikramaditya VI ; he was a native ol Ittagi. 
The temple came into existence in a . d . 1112. Close to it he also built a Vishnu temple called 
that of Narayana, so named after his father. 

The construction of these two temples is recorded 111 a Kanarese inscription found on a slab 
planted in the verandah of the Vishnu temple. One of the verses of this inscription describes 
the Mahadevesvara temple as the Devalaya Chakravarti , the Emperor among temples. 

This Siva temple facing east consists of a shrine housing a Linga with an ante-chamber (a 
parti) enclosed and partly open hall ) in front. It measures 120 feet (36.58 ms) by 60 feet (18.29 ms) 
and has four storeys over the sanctum. The fourth storey is damaged and its finial is missing. 

H. Cousens describes the temple thus : “This is one of the most complete and highly finished 
of existing Chaluk)an temples - probably the finest temple in the Kanarese districts alter 
Halebid.” This later Chalukyan temple (Vesara order ?) may be said to mark the transition 
from the Later Chalukyan to the Hoysala type of temples. 

The Siva temple at Ittagi is a century later than the Rajarajesvaram at Tanjavur built by 
Rajaraja I, but the fine expression Devalaya Chakaravarli coined by the Kanarese poet can be 
applied with greater justification (though anachronistically) to the Rajarajesvaram. 

See Henr) Cousens; Chalukyan Architecture of the Kanarese Districts : Text pp. 100-2, Elates 
Cl to CVII). 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 


J 7 


Walls of enclosure and gateways 

The temple faces east. As one approaches the complex from 
the east, a deep uneven moat of varying width and depth confronts 
us; at the entrance to the temple, it has been filled up to provide 
a passage on a level with the floor of the temple. After crossing 
the moat, we come across the wall of fortification with bastions, 
which runs all along the fringe of the moat. This wall is broken 
by a gateway whose upper inner surface is semi-circular and top 
flat, though somewhat raised from the general level of the 
wall. An inner and more massive wall of enclosure runs all 
round the four sides of the temple, parallel to the outer wall of 
defence and removed about 6.10 ms from it. It is over the east- 
ern opening on this wall that the outer (and first) gopuram rises. 
This gate is called “ Keralantakan tiruvasal” (the sacred gate of 
Keralantaka, a surname of Rajaraja I). It is a massive stone 
structure ; the entablature is, however, unpretentious, the super- 
structure being stocky and short. After crossing this gateway, we 
traverse almost a hundred metres westwards before we reach 
the inner gopuram known as “Rajarajan tiruvasal” , with attractive 
panels on the adhishthanam, depicting pauranic and other themes. 
This entrance admits us into the extensive courtyard in the 
middle of which is located the main temple. This inner wall of 
enclosure, the central structural complex and the subsidiary 
shrines constitute the hard core of the temple. The wall of en- 
closure is distinct in design from the outer walls of defence. 

THE CENTRAL SHRINE 

'This stupendous structure, comprising the garbhagriha, the 
ardhamandapa , the mahamandapa and the mukhamandapa, extends 
over an area of 54.86 ms by 30.18 ms and is set beautifully in the 
walled and cloistered courtyard formed by the wall of enclosure. 

The Srivimana 

The crowning constituent of the entire edifice is of course 
the srivimana itself, which rises to a grand height of 63.41 ms 
from the floor of the inner courtyard. The garbhagriha measures 
30.18 ms by 30. 18 ms at the base, according to the latest measure- 



i8 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


ments taken by the Archaeological [Department; the figure 
for the height of the srivimana has also been recalculated during 
the recent cleaning operations undertaken by the Department 
and the height from the floor of the courtyard to the top of the 
stupi is 63.40 ms. The figure mentioned by Fergusson (and 
others following him) was 57.91 ms. The kalasam (or stupi) measures, 
not 3.66 ms as mentioned by earlier writers, but only 3.35 ms 
(as measured during the recent cleaning operations). Possibly 
the original measurement assessed on the basis of figures given 
in the inscriptions could be inclusive of the portion of the stupi 
which is inserted into the sikhara. The cella is double-storeyed, 
each storey being indicated by a massive overhanging cornice; 
the double-storeyed cella is a further development of the same 
principle found in the Koranganatha temple at Srinivasanallur. 

Sculptures on the Garbhagriha walls 

The walls of the first tier of the garbhagriha are adorned with 
a set of life-size sculptures of a variety of forms of Siva. There 
are six sculptures on each wall except the eastern one, three on 
either side of the central opening, which exposes the sculpture in 
the vestibule. They include a pair of dvarapalas (on each of the 
three walls) immediately flanking the central opening. On the 
eastern wall there is however only one sculpture on each side of 
the entrance to the garbhagriha ; on the south wall, an extra 
figure has been accommodated, thus disturbing the symmetry. 
These figures are given below : 


South Wall West Wall 

1. Bhikshatanar 1. Hariharar 


2. Virabhadrar 2. Lingodbhavar 

3. Dvarapala 3. Dvarapala 


? 5 




North Wall East Wall 

1. Ardhanari- 1. Lingobha- 

svarar var (South 

side) 

2. Gangadharar 2. Sivastand- 
(without Uma) ing 

3. Dvarapala 3. Pasupata- 

murti (North 

4. „ side) 


4 - 


4 - 


4 - 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA I’s TIME 


If) 

5. Dakshina- 5. Chandrasekh- 5. Pasupata- 

murti (extra) arar (without murti (or 

prabhavali ) Virabhadrar) 

6. Kalantakar 6. Chandrasekh- 6. Siva-Alin- 

arar (with ginamurti 

prabhavali) 

7. Nataraja 

In addition to these sculptures, there are three on the southern 
and three on the northern side of the mahamandapa. They are : 
South side North side 

1. Ganesa 1. Bhairavar (with urdhvajvala) 

2. Vishnu with His Consorts 2. Mahishasuramardini 

3. Gajalakshmi 3. Sarasvati 

In the corresponding niches of the second tier above the 
intervening cornice, Siva as Tripurantakar is repeated in different 
poses, corresponding to the deities mentioned above. (Plates 1-34) 
Over this base rises the towering structure of thirteen storeys 
[talas). Topping the storeys of the srivimana is a single block of 
granite 7.77 ms square estimated to weigh about eighty tons. 
Over this block which forms the floor of the grim are Nandis in 
pairs adorning the four corners, each Nandi measuring 1.98 ms 
by 1.68 ms. It is on this granite slab that the griva, the sikhara 
and the finial stand; the gilded stupi, which alone is said to be 
about 3.81 ms in height, was gifted by the king himself to the 
temple in his twenty-fifth year, 275th day (SII, II, 1, para 18). 
Each storey is adorned with ornamental salas and kutas, combining 
strength with grace. The gradual upward sweep of the srivimana 
towards the sky is breath-taking; in this respect it outrivals the 
Pallava shore temple at Mamallapuram and even the grand 
srivimana attempted by his son at Gangaikondasolapuram. The 
srivimana is pyramidal in form and not curvilinear as that of the 
Gangaikondasolisvaram is. The 25-ton cupola-shaped sikhara and 
the golden (no longer so) stupi give a fitting crown to an all- 
stone edifice, which is a marvel of engineering skill unparalleled 
by any structure anywhere in India built during that period. 



20 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


It is the grandest achievement of the Indian craftsmen. That 
this monument has so splendidly survived for about a millenium 
now, in spite of the ravages of time, the political vicissitudes 
and the utter misuse to which the temple campus was put during 
the wars between the French and the English, is itself a tribute 
to the skill and attainment of the Dravidian sthapati in building 
a stone structure so solid, so perfect and of such magnitude. 

The garbhagriha rests on a high-moulded upapitham and adhi- 
shthanam. The upapitham measures 140 cms in height and the adhi- 
shlhanam measures 360 cms; the entire basement thus measuring 
500 cms. In the sanctum sanctorum is a monolithic Linga of giant 
proportions rising to the full height of the two storeys of the 
garbhagriha. There runs a corridor between the outer ( bahya - 
bhitti) and the inner ( antara-bhitti ) walls of the garbhagriha ; in 
this respect the temple resembles the Pallava Kailasanatha temple 
at Kanchi. The inter-space is again two storeyed, corresponding 
to the storeys of the garbhagriha ; in the lower storey, the vestibule 
is adorned with three stone sculptures of exquisite workmanship. 
Both faces of the walls of the vestibule are covered with mural 
paintings of great artistic merit and co-eval with the monument, 
with an overlaid layer of paintings of the seventeenth century 
when the city served as the capital of the Nayakas of Tan- 
javur and the temple received considerable attention from these 
rulers. 

In the corridor corresponding to the second storey of the 
aditala ('of the vertical wall portion) of the srivimana, there is 
a set of panels of stone sculptures in high relief depicting 81 
karanas of Bharatanalyam, out of the total of 108; this would really 
mark the first (known) plastic representation of these karanas 
anywhere in India. Against the remaining unrepresented karanas, 
there are mere blank blocks of stones. Labelled sculptures of 
all the karanas prescribed in Bharata’s Natya Sastra are found 
in the gopurams of the later Cholas — the Nataraja temple at 
Chidambaram in the inner faces of the gateways and the 
Sarangapani temple at Kumbhakonam on the upper tier. 

There is a small seated Bhogasakti in bronze by the side of the 
north jamb of the doorway of the garbhagriha. 



TKMIM.KS OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 2 1 

THE ARDHAMANDAPA AND THE SIDE GATEWAYS 
An ardhamandapa is in front of the garbhagnka. It also served 
as the bathing hall of the deity, as is seen from the snapana platform 
(bathing dais) in the centre of the hall. The ardhamandapa is 
approached from the sides as well as the front; the side gateways 
are imposing. As the adhishthana of the temple is very high, the 
floor of the garbhagriha and of the ardhamandapa is almost about 
6.1 ms from the floor level of the outer courtyard and these two 
gateways on the north and south walls of the ardhamandapa are 
approached by imposing flights of steps, one on each side. The 
steps are in two stages, the first flight being from the courtyard 
level to the top of the apapitham; there is a small landing there, 
followed by the second flight of steps reaching up to the threshold 
of the gateway. Massive sinuous and ornamental balustrades 
flank these flights. Both these gateways are flanked by huge 
imposing dvarapalas carved in the true Rajaraja style. Over the 
lintel of the southern gate is a brief inscription which reads: 
“Svasti sri Vikrama solan tini-vasal” — the sacred gate of Vikrama 
Chola, which was a surname of Rajendra I.* Wc will do well to 
remember here that Rajendra I had been a co-ruler for two years 
or more when the details of all grants and donations made to the 
temple were ordered by Rajaraja I (who was still alive) to be 
engraved on stone. One could presume the active participation 
of the son in this sacred and unprecedented building venture ol 
the father and the association of his name with the temple. There 
is a reference to the existence of a gateway known as the Anukka 
tiru-vasal, which has not been identified so far. If one keeps in 
mind the close association of Rajendra I with Anukkiyar Paravai 
Nangai (of Tiruvarur and Panayavaram fame), one could rea- 
sonably presume that the northern gateway to the ardhamandapa 
(opposite the Vikrama solan tiru-vasal ) was the Anukka tiru-vasal . t 


* are 414 oi 1 9-24. This Vikrama Chola rcfcis not to the son of Kulottunga I, but to Rajendra I 
(also see verse 113 of the Tiruvalangadu Plates). 

f Since anukka means proximity, this gateway could also have been so named due to its close- 
ness to the palace which lay to the north of the temple. 



22 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


MAHAMANDAPA AND MUKHAMANDAPA 

Further ahead of the ardhamandapa is the mahamandapa with 
rows of six pillars both east to west and north to south. Bronzes 
of Vitankar and the king Rajaraja I (both later substitutions) 
are housed in this hall. Two giant dvarapalas guard the entrance 
to this hall. The mukhamandapa is in front of the mahamandapa 
and is approached by a sweeping flight of broad steps leading 
up to the hall. 

Dvarapalas 

In all there are 18 dvarapalas in the temple, all massive and 
grandly conceived in the Rajaraja style. Two are on the front 
face of the first tier of the Rajarajan tiruvasal, two flank the entrance 
to the mukhamandapa, two adorn the entrance to the ardhamandapa, 
two are there, one on either side of each of the two entrances 
to the ardhamandapa from the flanks; two are there on either side 
of the entrance from the ardhamandapa to the garhhagriha and two 
on either side of each of the openings in the south, west and north 
walls of the garhhagriha. 

Nandi Mandapa 

In the same axis as the garhhagriha and the ardhamandapa is 
the Nandi mandapa housing an enormous monolithic sculpture of 
Nandi, worthy of the magnitude and grandeur of the temple and 
the founder’s conception of it. It is 3.65 ms high, 5.94 ms long 
and 2.59 ms broad and is estimated to weigh 25 tons. 

Krishnan Raman Tiruch-churru-maligai 

Reverting to the wall of enclosure surrounding this shrine 
and its adjuncts, we learn from the inscriptions that at the behest 
of the Lord Sri Rajaraja deva, his able minister and general, 
by name Narakkan Krishnan Raman alias Mummadisola Brah- 
mamarayan built this wall of enclosure (SII, II, 31, 33 and 45). 

For convenience of reference, we may call it the Krishnan 
Raman wall. It may be noted that the same general finds mention 
twice in the Larger Leyden Grant. He was also the Chief Secre- 
tary ( Olai-Nayakan) during the days of Rajaraja 1 and was called 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 


23 


Mummadisola Brahmamarayan after a surname of the king. 
He evidently outlived Rajaraja I and served under his son and 
successor Rajendra I, and during the latter’s days he went by the 
name of Rajendrasola Brahmamarayan, in keeping with the 
tradition in vogue then of adopting the ruler’s name. 

In fact, the wall is part of a multi-pillared raised platform 
running all along the four sides of the temple ; it rises to a height 
of nearly 6.10 ms from the prakara floor level and is decorated with 
stone Nandis mounted on the top of the wall at intervals; this 
tiruch-churru-maligai has a large number of cellas interspersing 
the open pillared verandah, most of them housing Lingas the 
remaining being vacant; these cellas are not evenly spaced, nor 
are they all of the same size; in fact they are in two sizes; one 
group of them having a front wall relieved by four pilasters 
corresponding to the pillars of the verandah while others (which 
are fewer in number) have walls with six pilasters. 

Dikpalas 

The cellas in the four corners and the middle of the walls on 
the south, west and north, are crowned with vimanas, consisting 
of a griva, a sikhara and a stupi; thus we have seven such shrines. 
In the cella in the north-eastern corner, Isanadeva is housed; 
Nirutti is housed in the cella in the middle of the north wall, 
Kubera in the north-western corner cella, while Varuna is in 
the western cella ; the rest of the cellas are without any sculptures 
at present but must have housed the remaining Ashta-dikpalas ; 
this, as mentioned elsewhere, is confirmed by the references in 
inscriptions on the eastern part of the wall of enclosure to the 
shrines of Agni deva and Isana deva, which are said to be located 
to the south and north of the Rajarajan tiru-vasal. 

We have further confirmation of an unequivocal nature about 
the setting up of eight shrines for the eight dikpalas from a record 
of the third year of Rajendra I (SII, II, 20). This record lists the 
gifts of kalasams (pinnacles) for the various shrines in the temple, 
made by Guru Isana Siva Pandita, the Chief Priest of the Raja- 
rajesvaram temple till the twenty-ninth year of Rajaraja I, for 
being placed on the shrines (alavangalil ) . 



MIDDLE (UIOLA TEMPLES 


Even though the inscription is much damaged and we arc not 
able to get the names of all the eight dikpalas , the mention of 
a few of them confirms the installation of all the eight guardian 
deities — viz-, Indra, Agni, Yama, Nirutti, Varuna, Vayu, Soma 
and Isana. The shrine of Indra, who is the regent of the east, 
seems to have been located in the second (inner) gopuram itself, 
for which five kalasams had apparently been provided by the king 
himself. So only seven pots (pinnacles) are provided for the 
remaining seven deities. 

Ashta-Parivara-devatas 

Besides these eight shrines for the eight dikpalas, there were 
shrines for the eight parivara-devatas* ( ashta-parivara-devatas, viz-, 
Surya, Saptamatrikas, Ganapati, Subrahmanyar, Jyeshtha 
Devi, Chandra, Chandesvarar and Bhairavar), of which, 
however, we have only vestiges left. In the cella on the 
west wall, to the immediate north of the corner shrine, 
is a massive Ganesa sculpture, which the inscription 
describes as the Parivaralayattu Pillaiyar Ganapatiyar to distinguish 
it from the Pillaiyar of the main temple ( Alayattu Pillaiyar) and 
the numerous other icons of Pillaiyar in metal, dedicated to the 
temple by pious personages of the royal household and nobles. 
The original image of Ganapati set up in the days of Rajaraja I 
in the parivara-alaya would appear to have been replaced at 
some later point of time and the one we see now in the cella is 
a substitute; the orginal, which is majestic and beautiful and is 
of the same quality of stone as is used for the sculptures of the 
original temple, is now found kept by the Archaeological Survey 
in the southern verandah ( tiruch-churru-maligai ) of the temple, 
where temporarily they have located their field office and spot- 
museum. Of the Saptamatrika group of images, nothing is left 
or seen, excepting the broken upper half of Varahi which is 


* Ashlra-Parivara Dcvatas : K. V. Soundararajan ( Indian Temple Styles, p.33) gives the names 
of the following deities : Subrahmanya, Surya, Chandra, Chandesa, Saptamatrikas, Jyeshtha, 
Durga and Ganesa. 

Durga is not an ashta-parivaradevata. At a later stage Fakshmi replaces Jyeshtha. For a discus- 
sion see my Early Chola Temples f pp.327-329). 



TEMPLES OF RAJ A RAJ A l’s TIME '25 

now housed in a small modern brick and cement cubicle in an 
inconspicuous portion of the courtyard near the well in the southern 
prakara. The Bhairavar image, now placed loosely in the mukhaman- 
dapa oh the temple, might be the original ashta-parivara-devata . 
The Subrahmanyar idol is again not in its proper place, nor does 
it appear to be the original one; it is in the north-western section 
of the prakara and is housed in a structure of florid style built 
by one of the Nayak kings in the seventeenth century a.d. The 
only shrine standing as originally built is that of Chandesvarar, 
which is north of and close to the srivimana ; it contains some 
valuable inscriptions of Rajaraja I. None of the other shrines 
can be traced now. 

THE TEMPLE, A COMPOSITE PLAN: 

Thus, the Rajarajan plan for the temple of Rajarajesvaram* 
contained the central shrine with the ardhamandapa, the mahaman- 
dapa and the mukhamandapa, the eight shrines for the parivara- 


* On the name of the temple at Tanjavur, we have the authority of Rajataja I himselt, the 
founder of the temple. In the foundation inscription, he refers to it thus : 

“Pandyakulasani nattu Tanjavur kurrattu Tanjavur nam edppichcha tirukkarrali Sri Raja- 
rajesvaram. . ” (SIT II, i). 

The temple was Sri Rajarajesvaram m Tanjavur in the subdivision of Tanjavur in the district 
of Pandyakulasani. The deity was referred to as Paramasvamin or Rajarajesvaram Udaiyar. 
Karuvur Devar, a contemporary of Rajaraja I and his son, in his hymn called Tiruvisaippa has 
sung of Rajarajesvaram and Gangaikondasolisvaram. Even during the Pandyan period when 
the Amman temple was built in the courtyard of the main temple, the foundation inscription 
refers to the Amman shrine in the following words, 

"Tanjavur Udaiyar Sri Rajarajesvaram Udaiyar Koyihl. . nam elundarulivitta Ulagamuludum 
mudaiya Nackchiyaarkku ...” (SI I, II, 61). 

Even here the main temple is called Sri Rajarajesvaram and the Amman is named after the Pandyan 
queen. 

Nearly 600 years after the temple came into being, a certain Mallappa Nayakar refers to 
the deity in the central shrine as Pcriya Udaiyar Nayanar , ‘the great Lord’, evidently in recogni- 
tion of the size and greatness of the main deity. Tiru Pcruvudaiyar is a variant that has come 
into vogue in the subsequent period, with Brihat-Isvarar as its Sanskrit equivalent. The Amman 
has been given the corresponding Sanskrit name of Brihat Nayaki or Brihan-nayaki, which 
means ‘the great lady’. But in none of the epigraphs in this temple or which refer to it do we 
get these names. Therefore there does not scent to be anv justification for the name of Brihades- 
varar for the deitv of the main shrine and Brihannayaki for the Amman of the temple of Raja- 
rajesvaram at Tanjavur. It seems onlv fair to call this temple by the name its builder gave it. 

On the same grounds there is no reason for the use of the term Brihadisvarar being applied 
to the deity of the temple at Gangaikondasolapuram. Epigraphs give the temple the name of 
Gangaikonda-solisvaram only. 



26 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


devatas, the eight shrines for the dikpalas, the Krishnan Raman 
Tiruch-churru-maligai with the Rajarajan Tiru-vasal and the imme- 
diately outer wall of enclosure with the Keralantakan Tiru-vasal. 
The walls of fortification with the bastions and the moat round 
it find mention in the Tiruvisaippa of Karuvur Devar, the guru 
of Rajaraja I. This work describes Tanjavur as “ Inji-sul-Tanjai ” — 
Tanjavur surrounded by a moat. Hence these elements of the 
periphery of the temple also are not likely to be later accretions 
but part of the master plan of the grand temple as originally 
conceived. This is the first instance of such defence works in any 
South Indian temple. The Rajarajesvaram not only was a temple 
meant for public worship but also served as the chapel-royal 
for the use of the royal family whose palace was in its vicinity. 
Hence perhaps the works of fortification. 

The Rajarajesvaram temple was built completely with its 
necessary adjuncts during the time of Rajaraja I himself, based 
on a well-defined and stately plan which was preserved till 
its completion (Tanjore District Gazetteer). The Chandesvarar 
shrine which was very much a part of the original master plan 
was built before his conquest of the 12,000 islands; the shrines 
of Dakshinamurti, Subrahmanyar and the Amman however 
are of different later dates. According to a Marathi inscription 
dated in Saka 1732 ( A.D . 1801), Sarfoji Maharaja of the Tanjavur 
Maratha dynasty executed certain elaborate repairs to the shrines 
of Ganesa, Subrahmanyar, Ulagamulududaiya Nachchiyar 
(Amman), Sabhapati, Dakshinamurti and Chandesvarar, built 
one or two mandapas and renovated the prakara walls, the temple 
kitchen and the flooring of the courtyard; all this was presumably- 
necessitated by the ravages wrought on the temple complex 
during the British occupation of the campus for over 30 years 
(from A.D. 1772 to almost 1801-2). In fact, the temple became 
out of bounds for the civilian population, and worship was 
perhaps even abandoned, during this period. 

On the Krishnan Raman wall, there are three entrances, 
(two of which are now closed) giving one access from the outer 
defence perimeter to the inner courtyard; they are directly 
opposite the south, west and north walls of the garbhagriha; 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 


27 


the northern entrance was perhaps used solely by royalty, being 
closest to the palace, which lay north of the temple complex. 

SABHAPA TI-MANDAPA 

The Sabhapati mandapa houses a beautiful bronze of Nataraja, 
accompanied by His Consort, a gift made by Rajaraja himself 
(PI 1). It lies further east of the Amman shrine. 

AMMAN SHRINE 

The Amman temple of Ulagamulududaiya Nachchiyar, now 
called Brihannayaki temple, is a Pandyan foundation of the 
thirteenth century; in the early and middle Chola period, there 
were no separate Amman shrines attached to any temple; the 
only Devi shrines known in this period are those of Durga (Drau- 
pati ratha) at Mamallapuram, of Meenakshi at Madurai and of 
KanyaKumari at Kanvakumari (inPandya country) and perhaps 
the Kamakoti (Kamakshi) temple of Kanchipuram. In the early 
Chola period, we have many instances of the installation in the 
main shrine itself of metal images of Devi as Bhogesvari, Uma 
Bhattaraki or Palliyarai-Nachchiyar as well as of the installation in 
the srivimana niches of stone images of Durga, Lakshmi and Saras- 
vati. One of the four inscriptions of Parantaka I found in the 
Adityesvaram temple at Tiruverumbur refers to the consecration 
of Uma Bhattarivar; this must refer to either the Bhogasakti 
Amman or to the Palliyarai-Nachchiyar and not to any deity 
with an independent shrine for it. The Mangalambika shrine at 
Tirukkandiyur was originally a Siva temple, re-dedicated later 
on as an Amman shrine; the Vada-Kailasam and the Ten- 
Kailasam at Tiruvaivaru are actually Siva temples and not 
Amman shrines, built in the days of Rajaraja I and Rajendra I 
respectively; the same pattern was followed in the case of the 
Gangaikonda-cholapuram temple, where the Vada-Kailasam 
and Ten-Kailasam temples were originally both dedicated 
only to Siva; this is evident from the sculptures found on the 
garbhagriha walls of these two temples; it was only later that the 
Vada-Kailasam temple there was converted into an Amman 
shrine (perhaps in the days of the Later Cholas). 



MIDDI.b CiH>[,A THMt’l.liS 


Another piece <>l evidence adduced in suppoit <>( the theory 
that separate independent Amman shrines existed even in the 
days of Rajendra I is taken to be the mention of the existence of 
a Sri Bhattaraki icon, besides Durga and other sculptures, in 
a list of icons enumerated in an inscription of the twenty-sixth 
year of Rajendra I at Ennaviram (ARE 335 ot 1971; also vide 
The Colas by K.A. Nilakanta Sastri, 2nd edition, p. 715). There 
is no separate Amman shrine at all of the age of Rajendra I at 
Ennaviram. The earliest positive evidence that we have of the 
construction of an independent, separate Amman shrine different 
from the main shrine of Siva, is in respect of the Sivakami Amman 
shrine, otherwise known as the temple of Tinikkamakkottam- 
Udaiya Nachchiyar in the enlarged campus of the Nataraja temple 
at Chidambaram; this temple for the Amman was built during 
the period of the Later C.holas, viz-, Kulottunga I and his 
successors. In fact, this is the earliest instance of its kind in the 
whole of the Tamil country. 

PARI VAR . 1 LAI A TTU FILL A 1 1 A R 

From an inscription (quoted in SIR 11 , 3b, but not numbered 
separately), partially covered, on the first pillar (counting from 
the south-west corner) of the western tiruch-churru-maligai , it 
appears that an image of Pillaivar Ganapatiyar, who is called 
in the inscription Parivaralayattup-Pillaiyar (Pillaiyar ot the 
parivara-alaya or sub-shrine) was set up by Rajaraja I before his 
twenty-ninth year and that it was made of copper and measured 
14 viral in height. Was it a processional image, made of copper? 

From an inscription on a pillar of the same west wing (SIX, 
II, 88), we gather that one Kanjan Kondaiyan, a native of 
Kamadamangalam in Purakkillivur nadu, a subdivision of 
Pandyakulasani valanadu, and a servant (pani-maganar) of 
Rajaraja devar and the master (chief) of the rent roll in the 
department ( Tinaikkalam ) of taxes levied from endowments 
( Puravari-tinaikkalattu-varip-pottaga-nayakan) , presented a bell-metal 
dish ( vengalal-laligai) weighing 29 palams to the Parivaralayattup- 
Pillaiyar Ganapatiyar. 

On a niche of the same west wing is another inscription (SI I , 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA fis TIME 2<) 

II, 89) which refers to gifts to this Ganapati — “ikkanapati- 
yarukku” ; the inscription being in the western enclosure, in 
which the Parivaralayattup-Pillaiyar Ganapatiyar is located, 
we may presume that the gifts relate to this Pillaiyar. 

Mural Paintings in the Rajarajesvaram Temple 

The sanctum sanctorum of the Rajarajesvaram temple as men- 
tioned earlier, has a vestibule 1.88 ms (6 feet 2 inches) in width 
between the two parallel walls of the garbhagriha. In the 30’s 
of this century, some remarkable paintings were discovered on 
the inter-facing walls of the vestibule by the late S.K. Govinda- 
swami (See Journal of the Annamalai University , Vol. II, 1933; and 
J.I.S.O.A., Vol. I, pp. 73-80). He however found on close scrutiny 
that the entire wall surface was covered with paintings belonging 
to the days of the Nayak rulers of Tanjavur and that in places 
the painted surface had crumbled, exposing to view exquisite 
paintings datable in the Chola period. Trying to preserve both 
the Chola and the Nayak paintings, the Archaeological Survey 
authorities have done a remarkable job of scientifically cleaning 
up the exposed portions revealing the excellence of the Chola 
paintings and at the same time retaining in tact the second layer 
on which the Nayak paintings are drawn. 

The vestibule consists of fifteen chambers made up of four 
corner chambers, three central chambers and eight intervening 
chambers, two to each side, l he space of the sixteenth chamber 
is taken up by the entrance to the garbhagriha from the ardhaman- 
dapa. On each side, the vestibule measures 17.07 ms 150 feet) 
from end to end. The chambers are nominally separated from one 
another by door-sills 0.46 m (a foot and a half) in thickness, 
without, however, any intervening door. .All the chambers have 
recesses which in the case ot tin* central ones are deep, and in 
the case of the longer intervening chambers, shallow. The wall 
surfaces of these recesses and in some cases those of the adjoining 
jambs have provided the lithic canvas for the Chola paintings, 
though not all of them have been made use of. For convenience, 
the chambers have been numbered in the clockwise order as 
seen in the Ground Plan. Presenting a grand view from the 



30 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


prakara round the srivimana, through the central openings in the 
outer wall of the garbhagriha, are three giant-size sculptures in 
the central chambers, one each on the north, west and south 
faces, with their backs to the inner wall. The one on the southern 
side (in chamber no. 4) is of Jvarahara-Isvarar, with two arms 
carrying a sword and a trident (?). This deity is generally covered 
over with a thick layer of chandana kavacham (sandal-wood paste) 
and local tradition has it that the deity has healing qualities. 
The sculptures in the western central chamber (no. 8) is des- 
cribed as Sadyojatamurti, wielding the gada, the tanka, the 
sword and the sula in the arms to the proper right, while on the 
proper left one arm is flung across the chest in the gajahasta 
style, two others wield the noose and the shield, the fourth being 
broken. On the proper left is an image of Parvati; on the proper 
right is Vishnu playing the drum. The image is presently covered 
with stucco; this was possibly done during the Nayak period. 
We have an equally majestic sculpture of a female deity, in the 
northern central chamber (no. 12) holding an akshamala in the 
proper right and the lotus in the proper left arm. It could be a 
representation of the concept of the integration of Parvati and 
Lakshmi, but this requires to be examined further. 

At present, not all the Chola paintings have been exposed, 
but those exposed so far are found — 

(i) on the north wall of chamber number 5, 

(ii) on the east wall and jamb of chamber number 7, 

(iii) on the east wall and jambs of chamber number 9, 

(iv) on the inner jamb facing north in chamber number 10, 
and 

(v) on the south face of chamber number 1 1. 

Chamber Mo. 5 : Dakshinamurti 

The painting on the northern side of the chamber depicts 
a forest scene. Various animals such as lions, tigers, deer, bears, 
monkeys and reptiles like pythons are shown in their characteristic 
attitudes and postures. A deer scratching its back-turned face with 
its hind hoof, and a monkey perched on the top of a tree which 
is densely foliated enliven the scene. The trees are outlined in 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 3 1 

black, while the animals have been shown in brown (as in the 
case of the bear) or yellow (as in the case of the dog). A very 
natural green gives form and reality to the foliage in the forest. 
At the lower end of the panel, we discern the bold outline of 
an enormous figure, which could be identified with Siva as 
Dakshinamurti seated on a tiger skin in a yogic posture complete 
with the yogapatta. The outline is brown, the body is reddish 
yellow and the jewellery is in red, blue and white tints. The 
background is green. Besides, we have two other figures both in 
brown outline, the body colours being light red and green, 
respectively. A standing human figure perhaps represents a 
hunter in his natural habitat and attire — a kachcham. The represent- 
ation of Dakshinamurti in this forest scene seems to be a mural 
replica of the metallic image Rajaraja I presented to the temple 
before the twenty-ninth year of his reign (SII, II, 59), which 
has been described in great detail in his grant. 

A fine portrait of Rajaraja I and his guru Karuvur Devar 
occupies the lower left-hand corner showing them in a mood ol 
reverence before Dakshinamurti. 

Chamber No. 7: Sundaramurti Nayanar episode 

Certain major events in the life of Sundaramurti Nayanar, 
so vividly depicted in literature as well as in sculpture, both 
stone and metal, have been sequentially portrayed by allocating 
a horizontal third of the painted surface to each episode, lhe 
lowest layer depicts the marriage of Sundarar being prevented 
from taking place by Siva in the garb of an old man; the middle 
section shows Sundarar and Cheraman ascending to Kailasa, 
and in the uppermost segment is depicted the effulgent scene 
of Kailasa with the arrival of these two from the Earth. 

(i) The marriage scene of Sundarar is characteiized by 
realism and a deep insight into details; the cooking scene foi 
instance is shown with great attention to minutiae; the cooking 
oven, firewood and cauldron lend a down-to-eaith look to the 
scene; the colour scheme is interesting. Siva in the guise of an 
old man, fussing about his rights over the brahmana slave, who, 
he contended, Sundarar was to him, is subtly brought out by 



32 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


giving him an angry and aggressive look exuding self-confidence, 
while Sundarar, with his marriage stalled, is delineated as a 
frightened person in front of the irate old man, who is shown 
producing a palm leaf, as a document to prove his contention 
that Sundaramut'ti and his ancestors were the bond slaves of the 
old man. The Chola craftsman has obviously got into the spirit 
of the scene and has vividly brought out the utter consternation 
in the faces of the persons who had come to attend the 
wedding. 

( ii ) The wedding stalled, Sundarar plunges into the service 
of god and begins his pilgrimage to the temples of the south, 
that ultimately ends at Tiruvanjaikkalam. There he ascends 
to Heaven and attains oneness with God. His close associate, the 
Chera king, Cheraman Perumal, hearing of this event hastens 
to catch up with Sundarar, for fetching whom the divine elephant 
Airavata was sent from Heaven. The middle portion of this painting 
depicts the ascent of Sundarar and Cheraman to Kailasa. Sunda- 
rar is riding the elephant Airavata, shown in dark brown outline 
with white trappings outlined in red and its divine origin is 
indicated by the trifurcated tusks (shad-danta) ; Cheraman is 
shown riding a galloping horse, its outline being in dark brown 
and the saddlery in white-in-red. A lighter vein is introduced 
to the proceedings by the Court craftsman, when he shows a 
figure clinging to the tail of the elephant in the hope of attaining 
Heaven at least that way. A row ol musicians and divine dancers 
accord ceremonial welcome to the ascetic and the royal guest 
at the portals of Kailasa. In the northern segment of the wall 
is a scene showing Cheraman worshipping Lord Siva in a temple 
in Vanji, the then capital of the Cheras, presently called Tiru- 
vanjikulam fCranganore) . The surfaces of the wings of the wall, 
provided by the flanking jambs, have also been painted on in 
delineating this fast-moving and time-spread theme. 

(in) On the top third portion of the wall, the scene of Kailasa 
is depicted symbolically with Siva and Parvati witnessing a 
dance by two divine damsels; the scene is complete with the 
presence of Nandi and the ganas ; there is a female figure, akin 
to the tribal belle, standing at the extreme right reminiscent 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 


33 


of the forest scene, where there is an attired male, very much 
like one of the hunting tribes. 

Chamber No. 9: Rajaraja and his three Queens worshipping Lord 
Nataraja 

In this chamber the entire canvas is covered with a panel 
showing the temple of Nataraja at Chidambaram, the four walls 
running along the sides of the panel framing it as it were. We are 
able to derive a clear idea of the gopurams on the four sides as 
they should have existed in the days of Rajaraja I, i.e., before 
the present ones came up during the days of the Later Cholas. 
They are very much like the Rajarajan Tiru-vasal in Rajarajes- 
varam, with a broad base and a small gopuram. They are found 
on all the four sides. The wall of enclosure is simple and has no 
tiruch-churru-maligai ; the Chit sabha is shown in magnified dimen- 
sions to accommodate the figure of Nataraja which dominates the 
scene; the dome is similar to what we see now; the Kanaka sabha 
shown respectfully smaller, accommodates Rajaraja and his 
three queens; what is noteworthy, among others, is the fine 
handling of the drapery of the queens who are shown wearing 
fine quality saris with lines and dots and decorative designs on 

them. The legs are revealed through the fineness of the diaphanous 
drapery. (See colour plates) 

This panel is indeed a masterpiece of the Chola artist, who 
was as versatile in handling the human form as in portraying 
Nature in all her facets. The figure of dancing Nataraja (Adaval- 
lan) is exquisite in workmanship and enormous in proportions, 
comparable to the actual size of some of the man-size bronzes 
of Nataraja cast in this period, with emphasis on poise and 
balance. The dhatura flower is enchantingly natural, while the 
cobra wriggles and dangles from the divine body in all its sinuous- 
ness and colour; the outline of the shrine of Nataraja is possibly 
a representation of the Chit sabha at Chidambaram as it existed 

then. 

The panel in the wall opposite to this also belongs to the 
Chola period but is much damaged and worn out; however 
rows of dancing figures are discernible, as also a miniature 



34 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


Nataraja (?). A little further up is Rajaraja with his guru Karu- 
vur Devar. 

Chamber No. io: Rajaraja I and Karuvur Devar 

In this chamber, on the inner jamb facing north is a fine 
representation of Rajaraja I and his guru Karuvur Devar. YVe 
have already noted yet another panel where they are shown in 
the forest scene in the fifth chamber. 

Chamber No. 1 1 : Tripurantakar 

On the southern surface of the inner wall facing north in 
chamber no. 1 1 is perhaps the most graphic and dynamic of all 
the paintings so far unveiled to us by the hand of man. Nothing 
delighted the master artists of the Dravidian Court so much as 
the concept of Siva as Tripurantakar; and the Chola painter 
drew upon it and gave it a new dimension. The entire canvas 
here is covered by the enormous figure of Tripurantakar riding 
a chariot driven by Brahma and accompanied by Karttikeya 
on his mount the peacock, Ganesa on his mouse and Kali on 
her lion, with Nandi in front of the chariot. Tripurantakar is 
shown standing in a fighting (alidha) posture on a pitham in a 
two-tiered chariot, the two wheels of which are represented as 
Surya and Chandra, and his eight arms are shown carrying the 
traditional weapons, the bow and the shield among them; one 
arm is swung across the body to the opposite side; one hand is 
shown in the posture of taking an arrow from the quiver; there 
is another quiver on the base of the chariot as a standby. 

The anger in the eyes and the smile on the lips are brought 
out very subtly and effectively; Siva is shown not as aiming the 
arrow at the enemy but in the act of pulling out an arrow from 
the quiver; the consternation among the asura ganas, who are 
accompanied by their female companions, shown clinging to 
them, is patent, and one of the frustrated among them is shown 
lifting a boulder to throw at Siva; hatred and fear are both 
brought out in the facial expression of this asura; Asura- guru 
Sukracharya is shown in a posture of surrender and despair at 
the right hand corner of the panel; lower down in the panel is 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 


35 


shown an asura carrying Siva (in the form of a linga) (?). This 
painting is a masterpiece and perhaps the greatest among those 
which have come down to us and have so far been exposed to 
view in this temple; in its rhythm, composition and concept of 
form and dimension, it has no equal in any contemporary painting 
(or could one add sculpture too?). There is a confluence of emo- 
tions and sentiments depicted in this panel, majesty and valour 
etched in the face and form of Tripurantakar, piteousness and 
utter despair in the faces and postures of the female demons; 
wonder in those of the many gods and demi-gods, at the feat of 
the Lord; and finally a portrayal of the unusual and the grotesque 
in the shape and form of the ganas. It is no wonder, Rajaraja I 
or his court painter chose this theme; was not the story of Tri- 
purantakar the theme of Rajaraja’s life itself, of a great warrior, 
a great benefactor, a king among kings? 

On the opposite wall of the same chamber, we have scenes 
showing Ravana shaking and trying to lift the Kailasa mountain ; 
the ten-headed rakshasa is shown in a fine shade of green and the 
attempt to lift the mountain is portrayed effectively by a neck 
bent low and a face showing strain. Parvati is frightened and 
clings to Siva from whose arms the snake has slid and fallen to 
lie coiled on the ground. Lower in the same panel are shown the 
devas and the ganas, some in fright and others in postures of trying 
to dissipate the efforts of Ravana. The panel has not yet been 
fully exposed and will turn out to be one of the best paintings 
of the Tanjavur group. 

Chamber No. 13 

There are patches of Chola painting peeping out of the exposed 
patches where the Nayak layer has peeled off; but the theme 
cannot be clarified unless the superimposed Nayak painting is 
removed. 

The roof over the ground floor vestibule also has paintings 
which require to be exposed; whatever is visible now relates to 
a later period. Owing to years of neglect, rain water had seeped 
through the crevices in the srivimana stones and so the topmost 
foot or two of the panels have been virtually washed out and are 



36 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


thus lost irretrievably. The sikhara is now being cleaned and the 
gaps are being plugged and it is to be hoped that whatever of 
the paintings are left will suffer no further damage. These are 
perhaps the best set of paintings of the Chola period, in fact, 
of South India of the Chola and Pandya periods, and should 
therefore be preserved jealously. One wishes, judging by the 
exquisite quality of the paintings, that some at least of the secular 
buildings like the palaces at Tanjavur, Gangaikonda-cholapuram 
and Palaiyaru could have come down to us, if for nothing else, 
at least to give us an idea of the mature skill and versatility of the 
Chola painters.* (Colour Plates i-io) 

A Unique Monument 

The Rajarajesvaram is unique in many respects. It has a 
well-conceived unitary plan and its execution is perfect. Its 
plinth — upapitham and adhishthanam — is high and strong and has 
fine mouldings which give dignity and grandeur to the whole edi- 
fice. Stones of excellent texture have been brought from a long 
distance, and were properly dressed and raised by an artificial 
inclined plane to the required height. It is a rare feat, considering 
the limited technology of the age. With great engineering skill, 
the downward thrust of the heavy stone superstructure has been 
well distributed. The Linga is huge and it is housed in a double- 
storeyed garbhagriha supporting the upper part of the srivimana. 
All the members of the structure are well proportioned and there 
is harmony in their assemblage. The steep upward sweep of the 
srivimana, resembling Meru, with the needle-like stupi at the top 
seems to point to the devotee the path to the lap of the Lord of 
the Universe.® 


♦In a very informative article written in 1937, S. Paramesvaran, the then Chemist of the 
Government Museum at Madras, has dealt with the technical aspects of these paintings, the 
plaster used for the base, the pigments, the binding medium, the method of execution and other 
interesting details. (See Technical Studies , Harvard: V 4 (1937), pp. 222-239.) 

@In the Authoi’s Preface to the book c The Story of Indian Art 3 , S. K. Bhattacharya (Atma 
Ram & Sons) observes: 

“ Indians were never an architectonic people : The Buddhist Chaitiyas, Jain and Hindu Temples 
are all replete with the sculptural quality oi the builders. They never aspired towards the 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 


37 


The calligraphy of the inscriptions on the walls of the temple 
has reached a level of unparalleled excellence. So magnificent 
and stupendous a structure has been completed in such a short 
time, and built to last till eternity. 

The vimana sculptures continue the sublimity of the earlier 
Chola period. It is really the “Devalaya Ckakravarti” of Indian 
temples. 

The eleventh century was the grandest period of temple- 
building activity in India. It was the age when India witnessed 
the highest achievements in temple architecture. Among them 
are those of Khajuraho built by the Chandelas between A.D. 
950 and 1050, the most conspicuous of these being the Khandariya 
Mahadeva— 33.22 ms (iog feet) long, 18.29 ms (60 feet) broad 
and 35.51 ms (116 feet) high; and the Lingaraj of Bhubanesvar 
in Orissa built about A.D. 1000, with a square base of side 
15.55 ms ( 5 1 f eet ) an d a height of 38.10 ms (125 feet). About 
this time some Hindu and Jain temples were also built at Osia in 
Rajasthan, and again two Jain temples, in marble, at Mt. Abu. 
Even among these, the Rajarajesvaram holds the pride of place. 

ROYAL GIFTS OF ICONS TO RAJARAJESVARAM 

After his extensive conquests in the four directions, Rajaraja I 
became a “Lion among the Emperors” of that era and as if 
to commemorate such an undying name in the history of this 
country, he built a grand temple and showered all his wealth 
and war-won booty on the construction and embellishment of 
this temple and endowed it with stupendous wealth, as if to 
ensure that for all time to come it would continue to be the 


heaven like the Gothic Churches of Mediaeval Europe. They arc firmly based on earth, and 
as such, they belong to our world rather than the world beyond”. 

I wonder if this view is correct. The builders of Rajarajesvaram at Tanjavur knew the basic 
principles of planning and constructing buildings. This temple seems to belong both to this 
world and the world beyond, with a happy blend of the allied twin arts of Architecture and 
Sculpture. Indian Vastu and Silpa Sastras describe various kinds of temples with vimanas of many 
talas (or bhumis) and multi-storeyed gopurams of which there exist, even today, many examples, and 
the Rajarajesvaram is the grandest of them all (see Plates 32 and 42 of his book). On page 67, 
he admits: ‘ The great sweep of the pyramidal vimana enclosed by niches gives it a monumental 
vertical effect and speaks of the techtonic sense of Chola rulers ” and thus contradicts himself. 



38 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


towering temple. The royal metal casters were busy casting some 
of the most beautiful and incomparable metal images of all time, 
and these icons were gifted and consecrated in the Rajarajes- 
varam temple by him, his sister Kundavai, his queens and the 
nobles and relatives; they also made extensive and sometimes 
staggering endowments and gifts to these deities. 

In this section, we shall list out all the metal images gifted to 
the Rajarajesvaram by the above personages and in the subse- 
quent section deal with their other gifts and grants. We have 
records to establish that as many as 66 metal images were set 
up in this period. 

i. IMAGES SET UP BY RAJ ARAJ A I 

(a) Gold, Silver and Panchaloha Images : 

1. Adavallar*. 

2. Uma Paramesvari, Consort of Adavallar. 

3. Adavallar Dakshina Meru Vitankar. 

4. Tanjai Vitankar. 

5. Maha Meru Vitankar. 

6. Kolhai-devar (gold). 

7. Kshetrapalar (gold). 

8. g, 10, 11. Vasudeva (silver). 

Rajaraja I set up a number of giant-size icons, possibly of 
panchaloha, which included Adavallar, Adavallar Dakshina Meru 
Vitankar, Tanjai Vitankar and Maha Meru Vitankar. While 
there is no description of these images in the lithic records that 
have come down to us, references to Rajaraja I setting them up 
are found in the records of grants made by Kundavai and others. 

Besides, on the 312th day of his twenty-fifth year, Rajaraja I 


*1) J. N. Banerjee : In ‘Hindu Iconography’ dealing with the anandct tandava form (p.280) 
holds: “Numerous bronze replicas of the same type of dancing Siva are found in Southern India, 
but most of them belong to the fourteenth or fifteenth century A.D. or even later.” 

2) M. M. Deneck : In her Indian Art ‘Shiva Dancing’ mentions: 

“Dravidian bronze:- 
Height 154 cm (6ft. 1/2 inch). 

including pedestal — twelfth to thirteenth century.” 

My Survey will disprove the above conclusions. 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 


39 


gave one gold image of Kolhai-devar, which was to be present 
at the time of the sacred offerings ( sri bali), and it weighed 
3 2 9 3/4 kalanjus and three manjadi , as weighed by the standard 
stone called Adavallan. He also gifted a gold icon of Kshetrapalar 
weighing 72! kalanjus. - 

At least three and possibly four silver images of Vasudeva 
with aureolae also in silver in three cases, were presented to the 
temple. These are the only silver images gifted that we know of. 
Of the Vasudeva images, whether with or without aureola, one 
weighed 1043 kalanjus, while its aureola weighed 17J kalanjus 
including ij kalanjus and 1 kunri of gold laid over its flame ( sudar ). 
Yet another image weighed 355 kalanjus no mention being made 
of its aureola. These images and aureolae together weighed 
3162^ kalanjus. Perhaps, there was a fourth image of Vasudeva, 
which finds mention as item no. 141 in the relevant inscription. 

(b) Copper Images: 

In addition to the images of the deities mentioned above, 
he also set up a number of copper icons which are mentioned in 
six inscriptions found in the temple (SII, II, 29, 30, 49, 50, 52 
and 84) . All the dimensions of these icons were measured by the 
standard unit of longitudinal measurement, viz-, the mulam (the 
cubit), preserved in the temple of the Lord, and recorded. 

They are: 

1. Chandesvara Prasada Devar group (SII, II, 29) consisting 

of : 

(a) one solid* image of Chandesvara Prasada Devar, 
with four hands and a jewelled padma-pitham, 

(b) one solid image of Musalakan with two hands, 

(c) one solid image of Uma Paramesvari with padma- 
pitham, 

(d) one pitham for the god and goddess together, 

(e) one solid image of Mahadevar with one projecting arm, 


* ‘Solid’ is used as the English equivalent of the Sanskrit word ghana (along with its Tamilized 
version gana ), meaning ‘cast solid*, as opposed to ‘cast hollow’, the two processes of metal casting 
followed by South Indian metal-casters ( sushira and ghana) (South Indian Bronzes : Lalit Kata 
Akademi : C. Sivaramamurti, p. 14). 



1° 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


(f) one solid image of Chandesvarar, with two hands, 

(g) one solid image of Chandesvarar ’s father, with two 
hands and in the posture of lying on the ground, 

(h) one solid image of Chandesvarar, with two hands, 
represented as receiving Siva’s blessing, 

(i) one flower-garland given to Chandesvarar, as a boon, 
and 

(j) one solid prabha. 

2. Pancha-deha-murti (SII, II, 30) consisting of: 

(a) one solid image with five bodies and ten arms, 

(b) four solid images, joined to the main image, with 
four hands corresponding to each of the four faces, 
and 

(c) one padma-pitham as pedestal to the image. 

3. Subrahmanya Devar (SII, II, 49) consisting of: 

(a) one solid image of Subrahmanya Devar, with four 
hands, 

(b) one bejewelled padmam, 

(c) one pitham, and 

(d) one solid prabha. 

4. Dakshinamurti (SII, II, 50) consisting of: 

(a) one solid image of Dakshinamurti with four hands, 
seated on a mountain, 

(b) a mountain serving as the seat of the above image, 
with two peaks ( sikhara ), 

(c) two solid images of kinnaras joined to these peaks and 
having two hands each, 

(d) two solid images of kinnaris with two hands, 

(e) one solid image of Musalakan, with two arms and 
lying under the Lord’s feet, 

(j) two sets of two solid images of risk is with two hands 
each, 

(g) one solid image of a snake, 

(h) two solid images of karna-pravratas (large-eared beings, 
using the ears as cloak) having two hands each, 

(i) one solid image of a tiger recumbent on the mountain, 

(j) one solid image of a banyan tree ( ala-vrksha ) atop 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 


41 


the mountain, on which were ‘sewn’ nine separately 
made large branches and forty-two minor branches, 

(k) one wallet ( pokkanam ) suspended from the tree, and 

(l) a solid handle ( kai ) and, joined to it, one bunch of 
peacock’s feathers to be carried in it. 

5. Mahavishnu (SI I, II, 52) consisting of: 

(a) one solid image of Mahavishnu, with four hands, 

(b) one bejewelled padmam, 

(c) one pitham on which was mounted the padmam , and 

(d) one solid prabha. 

6. Pillaiyar Ganapatiyar (seven images) as follows: 

(a) one solid image of Pillaiyar Ganapatiyar in the 
dancing posture, with four divine arms with 

(i) one lotus on which this image stood, set with 
jewels, 

( ii ) one pedestal on which this image stood, and 
one solid aureola covering this image, 

(b) one solid image of Pillaiyar Ganapatiyar in the 
standing posture, with four divine arms with 

(i) one lotus base, on which this image stood, set 
with jewels, 

(c) one solid image of Pillaiyar Ganapatiyar in the stand- 
ing posture with four divine arms, with 

(i) one lotus set with jewels forming part of this image, 

(d) one solid image of Pillaiyar, comfortably seated with 
four divine arms, with 

(i) one shrub (sedi) forming part of this image, 

(e) one solid image of Pillaiyar Ganapatiyar, in the danc- 
ing posture with four divine arms, with 

(i) one pedestal, and 

(ii) one solid aureola, forming part of this image, 

(f) one solid image of Pillaiyar Ganapatiyar, comfortably 
seated with four divine arms, with 

(i) one lotus forming part of this image, and 

( ii ) one aureola covering this image, and 

(g) one solid image of Pillaiyar Ganapatiyar, comfortably 
seated with four divine arms, with 



42 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


(i) one lotus forming part of this image. 

All these were copper images, set up (before his twenty-ninth 
year) by Rajaraja I himself. 

2. IMAGES SET UP BY KUNDAVAI 

1. Uma Paramesvari, Consort of Dakshina Meru Vitankar. 

2. Uma Paramesvari, Consort of Tanjai Vitankar. 

3. Ponmaligai Tunjiva Devar. 

4. Vanavan Mahadevi (Tammai). 

We have already mentioned that Rajaraja I and Kundavai 
were the children of Parantaka Sundara Chola II through his 
queen Vanavan Mahadevi; hence Kundavai is known as Piran- 
takan (rnagal) Kundavaiyar, that is, Kundavai, the daughter of 
Parantakan. From paras 1 and 2 of inscription SII, II, 6, we gather 
that Kundavai set up four images in metal; two of them were of 
the Consorts of Dakshina Meru Vitankar and Tanjai Vitankar, 
whose images were set up by her brother Rajaraja I; both the 
Consorts were called Uma Paramesvari. The other two were of 
her father and mother, viz-, Ponmaligai Tunjiya Devar (Sundara 
Chola) and Vanavan Mahadevi, whom she merely describes as 
“ Tammai ” (mother); the extent of her devotion to her parents is 
shown by the unusual use of the expression tirumeni with reference 
to the icons of her parents — tirumeni being used generally only to 
refer to icons of gods, and the icons of human beings, other- 
wise described as portrait sculptures, being generally termed 
“ pratimai” . 

3. IMAGES SET UP BY HIS QUEENS 

Among the queens of Rajaraja I who find repeated mention 
in the inscriptions of the period are Loga Mahadevi also known 
as Danti Sakti Vitanki who was his principal queen, Panchavan 
Mahadevi, Chola Mahadevi, Prithivi Mahadevi, Trailokya 
Mahadevi, Abhimana Valli and Ilada Mahadevi. Each of them 
took her legitimate share in the raising of the Rajarajesvaram 
temple by casting metallic images and making gifts of ornaments 
as well as provision for proper worship to them. 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 


43 


(A) Logo. Mahadevi : the Chief Queen of Rajaraja I 

i . Pichcha Devar 

The chief among them, Loga Mahadevi alias Danti Sakti 
Vitanki, is best remembered as the one who apart from making 
her own contribution to the growth of art during this period 
of great dynamism, built the Vada Kailasam at Tiruvaiyaru. 
She performed the hiranya-garbha ceremony in the Siva temple 
at Tiruvisalur; a portrait sculpture of the pair is etched on the 
southern wall of the temple of Siva-yoga-natha-svamin there. 
She also built a shrine for Kshetrapala devar in the temple of 
Kapardisvarar at Tiruvalanjuli (ARE 633 of 1902). 

Apart from these, she made extensive gifts to the Rajara- 
jesvaram temple. She gave a copper image of Pichcha Devar 
(Bhikshatana Devar) to this temple (SII, II, 9), some time be- 
fore the twenty-ninth year of Rajaraja I. We get confirmation of 
this donation from another record of the twenty-ninth year of 
Rajaraja I (SII, II, 34) which mentions, inter alia , the setting up 
of this image of Pichcha Devar before the twenty-ninth year of 
Rajaraja I by Loga Mahadevi, the consort of “our lord Sri 
Rajaraja Devar” and enumerates the gifts made by her of 
ornaments and vessels of gold and silver. 

This image is described as having four arms and standing 
on a pair of (wooden) sandals ( tiru-adi-nilai ) with an attendant 
deity, viz-, one solid goblin Ihhuta ) standing near this image and 
holding a vessel for offerings (bali patra ), one solid antelope ( maan ) 
standing near this image, one pedestal ( upapitham ) on which 
the image stood, set with jewels, and one solid aureola, encircl- 
ing the deity, consisting of two pillars ( toranak-kal ) and the linking 
crescent-shaped upper element (ardhachandra) . 

(B) Queen Panchavan Mahadevi * 

1. Tanjai-Alagar 

2. Uma Paramesvari (Siva’s Consort) 


*In SII, II, 51 and 53, Queen Panchavan Mahadeviyar is mentioned without aliases ; in 
SII, II, 42 and 46, Queen Chola Mahadeviyar is mentioned, again without aliases. Panchavan 
Mahadevi is stated to be the daughter of Avani-Kandarpa-Purattu-devanar of Paluvur in an 
inscription of the twenty-seventh year of Rajaraja I at Melappaluvur (ARE 385 of 1924), and 



44 


MIDDLE CIIOLA TEMl’LES 


3. Ganapati 

4. Saint Patanjali 

Panchavan Mahadcvi gave a gift consisting of one solid copper 
image of Siva bearing the sacred name of Tanjai-Alagar having 
four divine arms; Muyalakan lying recumbent at the sacred foot 
on which the Lord stood ; one lotus on which this image stood, 
set with jewels; one solid image of His Consort Uma Paramesvari 
with a lotus on which this image stood, set with jewels; one 
pedestal on which the Lord and His Consort stood ; and one solid 
aureola encircling the two deities, consisting of two ornamented 
pillars and the ardhachandra upper element connecting the two 
(SII, II, 51). Besides, her gifts included one solid Ganapati in 
a standing pose having four divine arms, and the lotus on which 
he stood, set with jewels, one pedestal and one solid aureola fram- 
ing the icon. The same queen also gave (SII, II, 53), before the 
twenty-ninth year of Rajaraja I, one solid image of the saint 
Patanjali devar shown with a human body above the navel and 
three serpentine coils below the navel; the five-headed serpent 
hood formed an umbrella over the head of the icon; he had a 
crown ( makuta ) and two arms; also there was a lotus seat ( padma 
asana ), set with jewels, on which he sat and one solid aureola 
covering this image; besides, she endowed this image with 
innumerable gifts of gold flowers, sacred ear-rings, arm-bands 
and so forth. 

(C) Queen Chola Mahadevi 

1. Adavallar and 

2. Uma Paramesvari 

3. Rishabhavahana Devar and 

4. His Consort 


Chola Mahadevi as the daughter of 1 ittaipiran, in an inscription of the twenty-third year of 
Rajaraja I at Tiruvallam (ARE, 223 of 1921). However, an inscription of the 3rd year of Raja- 
raja I at Tirumaipuram (ARE, 294 of 1906) makes reference to “Chola Madeviyar alias Pancha- 
van Madeviyar, Queen of Mummudi Chola’’. It is thus not clear whether these two names 
refer to one and the same queen; since the inscriptions list the gifts to the Rajarajesvaram 
under the two names separately, wc have also listed them likewise. 

(An inscription of the sixteenth year of Rajaraja I at Tiruppugalur (ARE 47 of x 928) refers 
to “Nakkan Tillai Alagiyar alias Panchavan Mahadeviyar, Queen of Rajaraja I”). 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 


45 


5. Ganapati 

Chola Mahadevi, one of the principal queens of Rajaraja I 
gave, before his twenty-ninth year, a gift of one solid image of 
Adavallar, having four divine arms, with the image of Ganga- 
bhattaraki on the braided hair, nine braids of hair (jata) and 
seven flower garlands in between ( poo-malai ), along with an 
image of Muyalakan lying at the feet of the Lord ; one lotus on 
which this image stood set with jewels, one pedestal, one solid 
aureola, one solid image of His Consort Uma Paramesvari with 
a lotus on which her image stood, set with jewels; one pedestal 
on which this stood ; and one solid aureola ; to these two images 
of Adavallar and Uma Paramesvari, she made innumerable gifts 
consisting of a string of round beads, a spiral with stones, strings 
with pearls and many others (SII, II, 42). 

Chola Mahadevi also set up in the temple the following 
other copper images; one solid image of Rishabhavahana Devar 
having four divine arms, one lotus on which this image stood, 
set with jewels, one solid image of His Consort Uma Parames- 
vari, one lotus on which this image stood, one bull ( rishabha ) 
partially solid and partially hollow, one pedestal on which the 
God, His Consort and the bull stood, one solid aureola encircl- 
ing all three and consisting of two ornamented pillars and one 
ardhachandra linking the two; one solid image of Ganapati, one 
lotus on which this image stood, set with jewels, one pedestal 
and one solid aureola to cover this image. To these images she 
made extensive gifts enumerated in the inscription (SII, II, 46). 

(D) Queen Prithivi Mahadevi 

1 . Srikanthamurti and Parvati 

Prithivi Mahadevi, one of the queens of Rajaraja I presented 
an image of Srikanthamurti to the Rajarajesvaram temple 
before the twenty-ninth year of Rajaraja I. This image represents 
Siva swallowing the poison halahala, but holding it in his throat, 
thus acquiring the name of Nilakantha (the blue-throated) ; the 
Karanagama gives the inconographic characteristics of Siva in 
this form as having one face, three eyes, braided hair, and four 
arms with the upper holding the antelope and the axe, while 



4 6 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


the poison is held in a cup in the right lower hand. Left of the 
image is the icon of Parvati shown with two arms. Inscription 
SII, II, 82 gives details of the gifts of ornaments, vessels etc. 
given to this image and the Consort. 

(E) Queen Trailokya Mahadevi 

1. Kalyanasundarar and Uma Paramesvari, with Vishnu 

and Brahma. 

Before the twenty-ninth year of Rajarajal,his queen Trailokya 
Mahadevi set up copper images of Siva under the name of 
Kalyanasundarar, of his Consort Uma Paramesvari and of 
Vishnu and Brahma represented as worshipping the main image. 
We gather that these were set up by her, from an inscription of 
the tenth year of Rajendra Choladeva (SII, II, 11). Here is a 
description of the deities: one solid image of Kalyanasundarar 
having four divine arms with one lotus on which this image 
stood, set with jewels; one pedestal on which the God and His 
Consort stood, one solid aureola covering the God and 
His Consort consisting of two pillars and one crescent-shaped link 
between them; one solid image of standing Vishnu, having four 
arms and in the act of pouring out water; one lotus on which 
this image stood, set with jewels; one four-legged pedestal; one 
solid image of Brahma represented as offering oblation ( huta ), 
having four arms and four faces, comfortably seated on a pedestal 
joined to a lotus, set with jewels. To these images she made 
extensive gifts of jewels and vessels (the details of which are con- 
tained in the inscription referred to above) which included strings 
of beads, sacred ear-rings, arm-rings, foot-rings, spirals and others 
(SII, II, 48). 

( F ) Queen Abhimanavalli 

1. Lingapurana Devar (Lingodbhavar) 

Before the twenty-ninth year of the reign of Rajaraja I, his 
queen Abhimanavalli set up a copper image of Lingapurana Devar. 
It consisted of the following: One image of Lingapurana Devar 
in the shape of a Linga with one solid image of Siva represented 
as rising out of this image, having four divine arms, one solid 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 


47 


image of Brahma, having four divine arms, joined to the Linga ; 
and one solid image of Vishnu with the head of a boar ( varaha - 
mukha) and having four divine arms joined to the Linga. This 
image was presented with a necklace, strung with four hundred 
and thirty pearls in clusters, and one necklace strung with 
eight hundred and eighty seven pearls in clusters (SII, II, 44). 

(G) Queen llada Mahadevi 

1. Pasupatamurti 

While we have no exclusive inscription dedicated to the 
setting up of any images by this queen, there is a reference in an 
inscription dealing with the donation of sheep, cows and buffaloes 
for the maintenance oflamps in the temple (SII, II, 95, para 56), 
to the setting up of an image of Pasupatamurti by this queen 
who presented cows and she-buffaloes for the purpose of burning 
lamps to this image. In all probability, her gift of this is recorded 
in some inscription in the inner enclosure of the temple which 
is still buried underground. 

4. ICONS SET UP BT RAJARAJA PS OFFICERS AND 
OTHERS 

(A) Krishnan Raman 

(1) Ardhanarisvarar 

One of the important officers and generals of Rajaraja I 
was Narakkan Sri Krishnan Raman alias Senapati (general) 
Mummadi-Chola-Brahmamarayan, a perundanam of Lord Sri 
Rajaraja devar and a citizen of Keralantaka chaturvedimanga- 
lam in Vennadu, a subdivision of Uyyakkonda valanadu. It was 
he who constructed the innermost wall of enclosure round the 
Raj araj es vara m temple, as is evidenced by three inscriptions 
on its southern and western wings. Inscription SII, II, 39 gives 
the details of the metal image of Ardhanarisvarar set up by him 
in this temple before the twenty-ninth year of Rajaraja I : one 
solid image of Ardhanarisvarar; one lotus on which this image 
stood, set with jewels; one pedestal on which this image stood; 
one solid aureola covering the image. The deity was half-male, 



48 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


half-female, and the Siva ( Isvara ) half had two divine arms and 
and the Uma (. Isvari ) half had one divine arm. It was made of 
copper and covered with brass. 

(B) Adittan Suryan 

1. Nambi Aruranar 7. Devaradevar 

2. Nangai Paravaiyar 8. Miladudaiyar 

3. Tirunavukkaraiyar 9. Kshetrapalar 

4. Tirujnana Sambandar 10. Bhairavar 

5. Periya Perumal (Rajaraja I) 11. Siruttonda Nambi 

6. Loga Mahadevi, his consort 12. Tiruvenkattu Nangai 

13. Siraladevar 

Perhaps the most significant of all the metals donated by 
any of Rajaraja I’s ministers and officers were those by Adittan 
Suryan, alias Tennavan Muvendavelan, the headman of Poygai 
nadu, who carried on the management of Rajarajesvaram (SII, 
II, 38). He set up, before the twenty-ninth year of Rajaraja I, 
the following images : 

(a) One solid image ( pratimam ) of Nambi Aruranar (Sundarar) 
having two sacred arms, one lotus on which this image stood, 
one pedestal on which the lotus was placed; 

(b) one solid image of Nangai Paravaiyar, having two sacred 
arms, one lotus on which this image stood, one pedestal joined 
to this lotus; 

(c) one solid image of Tirunavukkaraiyar having two sacred 
arms, one lotus on which this image stood, one pedestal joined 
to this lotus; 

(d) one solid image or Tirujnana Sambandar having two 
sacred arms, one lotus on which this image stood, one pedestal 
joined to this lotus; 

(e) one solid image of Periya Perumal (Rajaraja I) having 
two sacred arms, one lotus on which this image stood, one pedestal 
joined to this lotus; 

(f) one solid image of his consort Ologamadeviyar (Loga 
Mahadevi) having two sacred arms, one lotus on which this image 
stood, one pedestal joined to this lotus; 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA I’s TIME 


49 


(g) one sacred image ( tirumeni ) in solid brass of Chandra- 
sekhara devar set up as Devaradevar* for Periya Perumal ( Periya 
Perumalukku Devara-devaraga elundarulivitta . . . tirumeni) having four 
divine arms ; one brass pedestal bearing a lotus, which was joined 
to this image; one solid aureola of copper covering this image; 

(h) one solid image of Miladudaiyar, who said: “Oh, Tatta, 
watch out; (he is) one of us (one of the devotees of Siva)”, having 
two arms; one pedestal on which this image stood joined to a 
lotus (SII, II, 40). According to the sixth chapter of the Periya- 
puranam, one Meypporul Nayanar, a Chedi (?) king residing at 
Tirukkovalur, was stabbed by his enemy Muttanadan who had 
managed to obtain a private interview in the disguise of a Saiva 
devotee; the door-keeper who was about to kill the assailant 
was prevented from doing so by the dying king who exclaimed: 
‘Oh Tatta, he is a devotee of Siva; therefore do not harm him’; 
and Meypporul Nayanar is also called Miladudaiyar (the lord 
of Miladu) . 

Adittan Suryan also gave the following tirumenis and pratimas 
of copper until the third year of the king Rajendra I : 

(1) One solid image of Kshetrapala devar having eight 
divine arms; 

(2) One solid image of Siva in his fierce form of Bhairavar, 
represented as dancing, having two divine arms, and one pedestal 
on which this image stood, joined to a lotus; 

(3) One solid image of Siruttonda Nambi, having two arms; 

(4) One solid image of Tiruvenkattu Nangai; 

(5) One solid image of Siraladevar, having two arms; and 
one pedestal on which the three images (i.e. 3, 4 and 5) stood, 
joined to a lotus (SII, II, 43, which deals with the gifts of 
tirumenis and pratimas made by the same chief, Adittan Suryan) . 

(C) Velan Adittan 

1. Siva and Uma 

2. Subrahmanyar 

3. Ganapati 

* Devaradevar means the deity before whom the Devaram was recited (by the king, in this 
instance). 



50 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


Another royal officer named Velan Adittan alias Parantaka 
Pallavaraiyan, a headman ( kilan ) of ... and a perundaram of 
Lord Sri Rajarajadevar, set up a copper image of Siva and Uma 
before the twenty-ninth year of the king. The gift consisted of 
one solid image of Siva having four divine arms in the sukhasana 
posture; one solid image of his Consort Uma Paramesvari, seated; 
one solid image of the god Subrahmanyar having two divine 
arms, standing; and one solid image of Ganapati having four 
divine arms (SII, II, 32). 

(D) Rajaraja Muvendavelar 

1. Kratarjuniya Devar 

Another important officer of the royal court of Rajaraja I 
was the Minister Udaya Divakaran Tillaiyaliyar alias Rajaraja 
Muvendavelar, a native of Kanchivayil. He set up the image 
of Kratarjuniya Devar (Kiratarjuniya Devar) in the Rajarajes- 
varam temple and deposited thirteen kasus of money for the 
sacred food and other requirements of the deity (SII, II, 9). 

(E) Kovan Annamalai 

1. Bhringisar 

2. Surya Devar 

Yet another prominent royal officer is Kovan (i.e. Gopan) 
Annamalai alias Keralantaka Vilupparaiyan, a perundaram of the 
minor treasury (, sirudanam ) who made a gift of the following : one 
solid image of Bhringisar, with three divine feet and three divine 
arms and bearing a bush ( sedi ), and one pedestal on which this 
image stood, set with jewels (SII, II, 47). 

The same officer set up a copper image of the Sun god, Surya 
Devar, before the twenty-ninth year of Rajaraja I and presented 
some ornaments to this image. The gift consists of one solid image 
of Surya Devar having two divine arms, one lotus on which this 
image stood, set with jewels, one pedestal [bhadra-udaiya pitham ) and 
one solid aureola. 

(F) Mummadisola Posan 

1 . Chandesvara Devar 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 5 1 

We have another officer of Rajaraja I’s court, Irayiravan 
Pallavayan alias Mummadisola Posan, who set up an image in 
copper of Ghandesvara Devar before the twenty-ninth year of 
Rajaraja I and presented certain ornaments (SII, II, 55). Pallava- 
yan was a perundanam of Rajarajadevar and the gifts made are: 
one solid image of Chandesvara Devar, having two divine arms, 
one lotus on which this image stood, set with jewels, one pedestal 
[bhadra-udaiya pitham), one solid aureola and one solid axe (main) 
held by this image. This Chandesvara Devar is, of course, different 
from the Chandesvara Prasada Devar presented by Rajaraja I 
which has been mentioned earlier under the gifts of images 
made by the king himself (SII, II, 29). 

(G) Vadugan 

1 . Durga Paramesvari 

One Vadugan, a native of Nallur alias Panchavan Mahadevi 
chaturvedimangalam, made a gift of a copper image of Durga 
Paramesvari, which was set up in the temple of Rajarajesvaram 
before the twenty-ninth year of Rajaraja I, and also endowed 
it with a number of ornaments and jewels. This image ( tirumeni ) 
of Durga Paramesvari was of solid metal and had four hands; 
it stood on padma and bhadra pithams with a prabha over it; the 
aureola was also made of solid metal (SII, II, 79). 

(H) Rajaraja Kattiyarayan 

1 . Kala Pidari 

Finally, Perundanam Kandayan alias Rajaraja Kattiyarai- 
yan, son of Kattiyarayan, made a gift before the twenty-ninth 
year of Rajaraja I to the Rajarajesvaram temple, of a solid image 
of Kala Pidari having four arms, along with one pedestal and 
one solid aureola (SII, II, 81). 

(I) Guru I sana Pandita 

1 . A pratima of the Guru 

Guru Isana Siva Pandita is often mentioned in the records 
of this temple and was one of the important Saiva acharyas charged 
with the spiritual administration of the temple; apart from the 


0 


0 009 

R/ 



52 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


money deposits made by him for various services in the temple, 
he also set up an image (pratima) of himself in the temple. “To 
the shepherd Nallaran Villanai of Mangalam were assigned 32 
kasus out of the money deposited by the priest ( gurukkal ) Isana 
Siva Pandita for a lamp to the image of the gurukkal set up in the 
temple” (SII, II, 95, para 82). 

One may conclude, reading inscriptions 96, 20 and 90 
together, that Sivacharya Isana Siva Pandita continued to be the 
chief priest of the temple till the second or even the third year of 
Rajendra I when he was succeeded by Sivacharya Pavana 
Pidaran. We learn from inscription no. 90 that the latter presented 
a pot ( kalasa ) in the third year of Rajendra Chola for one of 
the subshrines in the temple. He, in turn, was succeeded by 
Saivacharya Sarva Siva Pandita, as attested by a nineteenth 
year record of Rajendra (SII, II, 20), according to which Rajendra 
ordered, inter alia, while camping in the college (kalluri) which 
surrounds the king’s flower garden ( aram ) on the north side of 
the royal hall (tiru maligai) of Mudikonda solan within the palace 
(1 koyil ) at Gangaikondasolapuram, that two thousand kalams of 
paddy fully measured by the ynarakkal called Adavallan preserved 
in the temple should be supplied every year, as long as the sun 
and the moon last, to the treasury in the city, to be enjoyed by 
the priests ( acharya ) of the temple of the lord of Sri Rajarajesvarar, 
viz-, our Lord the Saivacharya Sarva Pandita and by those who 
deserve it among the pupils ( sishya ) of this Lord and the pupils 
of his pupils ( prasishya ). The above order was written (engraved 
on stone), as heard from the lips of the king. “May the Sivacharyas 
of this spiritual line protect this charity ( dharma )” ends the order. 
The deification of this guru is indicative of the high esteem in 
which the rulers held the spiritual leaders of this line. 

ICONS: GENERAL: 

The age of Sembiyan Mahadevi and Rajaraja I was one 
when artistic “works of individual creative power” were made 
by artists “who were trained in a guild tradition of imparted 
knowledge and followed a system of canonical proportion and 
technique, relying on inspiration through meditation; and yet, 



TEMPLES OK RAJARAJA I’s TIME 


53 


inevitably, their productions combine system and freedom, dream 
and reality to produce at once works of individual genius and 
awesome religious power” — these are the wise words of an out- 
standing art critic, Benjamin Rowland, who believed in the 
traditional school of art. 

The icons are elaborately described. The name of the main 
deity and the attendant deities, where any, the composition 
of the metal — whether copper, brass-coated, silver, gold or alloy 
(bronze or bell-metal) was used for their making, the height and 
and weight of each unit, the number of hands and the attributes 
in each of them, the seat ( asana or pitha) and the aureola, if they 
were solid or hollow, their shape and composition — all these parti- 
culars furnished in the foundation inscriptions are unique and 
unparalleled in the history of any ruler in our land or elsewhere. 

The loss of most of these icons, the gold and to a lesser extent 
the silver vessels for their services during worship, the fabulous 
ornaments of gold and precious stones, corals and pearls of 
fantastic numbers, variety and value so elaborately described, 
is a sad tale of a vanished glory whose shadow alone we can now 
see and read from the mute records inscribed on the temple 
walls and whose purport and value has been made available to 
us in the pages of the Epigraphical Reports, thanks to the in- 
defatigable labours and the mature scholarship of one of the 
greatest epigraphists of our period, E. Hultzsch and his able 
band of fellow workers. 

If there is no autobiography or biography of our rulers as in 
the case of the Moghul emperors, and no accounts of contemporary 
foreign visitors as we have of Nuniz and Paes for Krishnadeva 
Raya of Vijayanagara, we have at least some copper plate grants 
and the innumerable inscriptions on the walls of temples, an 
invaluable source material to help us recapture, however, feebly 
it be, the glory that was Rajaraja I and the grandeur that was 
the Rajarajesvaram. 

GIFTS — OTHER THAN ICONS — AND DONATIONS 
(A) Rajaraja I 

There are perhaps few lithic records in recorded history so 



54 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


fascinating as the one found in nine sections engraved on the 
north wall and four sections on the west wall of the central shrine, 
which the inscription itself terms as Rajaraja’s edict. It opens 
with a Sanskrit sloka followed by the Tamil part. After listing 
out his conquests, it goes on to mention the date after which this 
and all the other grants relating to this temple were incised on 
the walls and pillars of the temple. On the twentieth day of the 
twenty-sixth year of his reign, Ko-Rajakesarivarman alias 
Rajarajadeva ordered that the gifts made by himself, his elder 
sister Kundavaiyar, his queens, and other donors should be 
engraved on the stone walls of the temple. It is in fact from this 
inscription that we get to know that Rajaraja himself built this 
temple and called it the temple of the Isvara of Rajaraja. Then 
it mentions a list of gold images, gold vessels and ornaments 
studded with precious stones which the king himself presented 
to the temple and to the image of Dakshina Meru Vitankar, on 
various dates, the earliest date being in his twenty-third year 
and the last being on his twenty-ninth year. We gather that part 
of the gifts which the king made between his twenty-third and 
twenty-ninth years were taken from the treasures which he 
seized after defeating the Chera king and the Pandyas in Malai 
Nadu ; after he assumed the titles of Sivapadasekhara and 
Rajaraja, he made a gift of a number of gold trumpets and after 
his triumphant return from the victory over Satyasraya, the 
Western Chalukya king, he made a gift of a number of gold 
flowers. In calligraphy, historical content and the fascinating 
details of jewellery and ornaments listed out in it, this record 
stands out as a gem of epigraphy (SII, II, i). 

The gifts made by Rajaraja I may be divided into three 
categories : (i) metal images of deities, (ii) gold ornaments and 
vessels, and (Hi) jewellery. 

We have dealt with the gifts of icons in the earlier sections. 

Besides those, he made a gift of ornaments and vessels number- 
ing thirty-two and weighing 22,257 kalanjus. 

From the bhandar am (treasures) captured by him after defeating 
the Chera king (Seraman) and the Pandyas in Malai Nadu, 
Rajaraja I gave on the 319th day of his twenty-sixth year to the 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA I’s TIME 


55 


Paramasvamin (the Supreme Lord) of the Sri Rajaraja-Isvaram 
temple, a number of gold chinhas (emblems) which were weighed 
by the stone called Adavallan and details of these gifts were 
engraved on stone. 

These two groups of gifts, which total 22,256 and 5,705 
kalanjus respectively, relate to those given to the Lord of Raja- 
rajesvaram in the twenty- fifth and twenty-sixth years, the latter 
being from the treasures which he seized after having defeated the 
Chera king. These are enumerated in the first part of the inscrip- 
tion. 

In the second part, there is specific mention that it confines 
itself only to those gifts given from the twenty-third to the twenty- 
ninth years of his reign, excluding those gifts of the twenty- 
fifth and twenty-sixth years which had already been engraved 
on the adjacent stones, ahead of this part of the inscription, on 
the east of the upper tier ( jagatippadai ) . The gifts listed here can 
again be divided into three parts, (i) those given out of the treas- 
ures secured after the defeat of the Cheras, valued at 67 kalanjus 
of gold, (it) those offered after he was bestowed the illustrious 
titles of Sivapadasekhara (he whose forehead is always at the 
feet of Siva) and Sri Rajaraja (the illustrious king of kings), 
valued at 2,937 kalanjus of gold, (Hi) gifts made from his own 
treasures, amounting to 2075 kalanjus, (iv) gifts given to the Lord 
after he returned from his victory over Satyasraya, which he 
showered as flowers at the sacred feet (sri pada pushpa) of the 
God by way of thanksgiving (with the flowers of gold, listed 
in the inscription) amounting to 264 kalanjus, and ( v ) one more 
category of gifts given not to the Lord of the Rajarajesvaram but 
to the processional deity, known by the name of Dakshina Meru 
Vitankar, also set up by Rajaraja. 

And finally apart from those given out of his own treasure, 
he gave one diadem ( tiruppattam ) made of gold taken from the 
treasures which he seized after having defeated the Chera king 
and the Pandyas in Malai Nadu, weighing 98 if kalanjus ( sera - 
manaiyum pandiyanaiyum malai nattu erindu konda bhandarangalil pon 
kondu seydu kudutta tiruppattam onru pon ...). 

And to all these, we should add the gold element of the kalasam 



f)(» MIDDLE CHOI .A TEMPLES 

for the great temple, that he made over on the 275th day of his 
twenty-sixth year, which consisted of one copper water-pot 
( [kudam ) to be placed on the copper pinnacle (stupi tadi ) of the 
srivimana. Its copper constituent weighed 3,083 palarns and the 
gold gilding which was in the shape of plates ( tagadu ) weighed 
2926! kalanjus. When we add together all the gifts in the shape 
of gold images, ornaments, vessels and so forth, made by Rajaraja I, 
we get a staggering figure of 38,604 kalanjus in round figures. 

In addition to the above, a number of ornaments were gifted 
to the temple, which were made partly of gold and jewels from the 
temple treasury, and partly of pearls which the king had presented 
to the temple before the twenty-ninth year of his reign. A number 
of corals were also secured by the temple treasury out of the 
booty which the king had seized after conquering the Ghera 
king and the Pandyas in Malai Nadu. With these, one diadem 
and nine girdles were made for the use of the image of Rajaraje- 
svarar, the principal deity of the temple. The details of these 
jewels are given in an inscription “engraved on stone on the 
jagatippadai and on the upapithattu kandappadai of the koyil of Chand- 
esvara”. Besides these gifts, 30 more ornaments, made partly of 
gold and jewels from the temple treasury and partly of pearls, 
which Rajaraja I had given to the temple up to his twenty-ninth 
year, were gifted (SII, II, 59 and 3). 

In the enumeration, the gifts are divided into various groups : 
(i) one diadem, weighing 1,197 kalanjus (value lost) and nine 
sacred girdles weighing 643 kalanjus and valued at 2,730 kasus 
make one group ; (ii) a second group of six girdles, weighing 
325 kalanjus and valued at 460 kasus ; ( in ) bracelets numbering 
16, made of pearls constituted a third group, weighing 155 kalanjus 
and having 5,770 pearls, valued at 403 kasus ; (iv) five pearl orna- 
ments called srichhandas gifted to the Lord make up yet another 
group ; they contained 38,844 pearls, weighed 158 kalanjus 
and were valued at 209 kasus. And finally three more items were 
gifted, viz--, a crown ( sri-mudi ), a garland (, tiru-malai ) and an 
umbrella ( tirupurak-kudai ) . 

Thus in all, a crown, a diadem, 15 girdles, 16 bracelets, five 
srichhandas, a garland and a parasol were gifted to the temple 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 


57 


(SII, II, 59 and 3). Excluding the diadem (whose value is lost), 
these items had a total value of 4072 kasus (adding up 86 kasus 
for the crown, 18 kasus for the garland, 71 J kasus for the parasol, 
2735 kasus for the nine girdles, 403 kasus for the 16 bracelets, 
550 kasus for another six girdles and 209 kasus for the five sri- 
chhandas) . 

Out of the treasures seized from the Cheras and the Pandyas 
and out of his own treasures, Rajaraja I presented further jewels 
and ornaments to the Lord. They include necklaces, armlets, 
bracelets, rings and sandals (footwear) made of wood and covered 
with gold plates and set with jewels. An interesting aspect is 
that there were four rings, which had all the nine gems ( navaratnam ) 
set in them, viz-, diamond, sapphire, pearl, topaz, cinnamon 
stone, coral, emerald, lapis lazuli and ruby. This complete com- 
plement of gems is found recorded only in the inscription in 
Rajarajesvaram (SII, II, 93). These items are described as 
bejewelled ornaments ( rattinattin tiru-abharanangal).* 

We get the names of all the nine gems in Tamil. I hey are : 
vairam (diamond), nilam (sapphire), rnuttu (pearls), pushparaga or 
pushyaraga (topaz), gomedakam (cinnamon stone), pavalam (coral), 
maragatam (emerald), vaiduryam (lapis lazuli) and manikkatn (ruby). 
There are special types of rubies called sattan and ilaisungi (pre- 
sumably named after some of their characteristics), inferior 
rubies called kuruvindam, and superior rubies like halam, komalam 
and halahalam : again, there are plain diamonds, kuppi diamonds 
and crystal ( palingu or palikku) diamonds. At least twelve 
different classifications in pearls were known to the Cholas : 
(1) round pearls ; (2) roundish pearls ; (3) polished pearls ; 
(4) small pearls ; (5) nimbolam ; (6) pavittam ; (7) ambumudu ; 
(8) crude pearls ; (9) twin pearls ; (10) sappati ; (11) sakkattu ; 
and (12) pearls of brilliant water and red water, and others. 

In all, this batch of gifts consists of 55 pieces — six necklaces, 
three composite necklaces, one tali (marriage badge), three 
armlets, one padakkam , six pearl bangles, two bracelets, two coral 

*As usual, they were weighed against the stone called Dakshina Meru Vitankan; the standard 
manner of weighing jewellery was to exclude the threads ( saradu ), the frames ( sattam ), and the 
copper nails ( seppanti ) and include the lac ( arakku ) and the pinju (?). 



58 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


bracelets, one girdle, two pearl uruttus, two coral uruttus, one 
diamond uruttu, two sonaka-chidukkin-kudu* , five jewelled rings, 
four navaratna rings, one prishtakandigai , one srichhandam, three 
pairs of sandals and six others whose descriptions are lost. The 
value of these items (excluding 13, whose values are lost) comes 
to 4,390 kasus. 

In his dainty little book on the Jewellery of India, Francis 
Brunei, an ardent admirer of Indian Culture and Art, observes : 
“India’s fabulous heritage in the field of Jewellery is 
unparalleled anywhere else, for not only has it at least 
5,000 years of unbroken tradition behind it, but also 
because it has given to its jewels the highest meanings in 
associating the most precious metals and the purest 
gems with a vision of the universe, nature and life, and 
the cosmic energies permeating the whole creation 
in works of beauty,” 
and adds aptly that 

. .nowhere else have jewels had a greater place, or have 
been more associated with divinity, blessing and protection, 
power and glory, success and prosperity.” 

Kings and nobles in all ages have revelled in jewellery. The 
author points out that flowers and garlands of all patterns and 
colours have been the first jewels within the reach of the humblest 
ones. Another notable feature of Indian culture was that even 
the highest in the land gave away the best of every thing — even 
of jewels — to their patron deities. Hence it is that the temples 
became the most valuable custodians of the precious objects 
of art — and for this very reason also became the target of attack 
during periods of political convulsions. 

We may next take up the gifts of silver made by Rajaraja I 


*A very interesting item of jewellery is the Sonakachchidukkin kudu. Chidukku is a commonly 
known ornament of the medieval period worn by women, and the term “Sonaka” would seem to 
have come into Tamil in the following manner: Sonaka<Jonaka<Javanaka<Yauanaka (a Greek 
or more generally one from the Middle East). So this item could have been modelled on a Greek 
piece of jewellery. We have at least one instance of an Arab who rose to eminence in the Chola 
court one who bore the Indian name of Paranjoti (of Savur) (SII, II, 95 and p. 460). 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 


59 


to this temple. As Venkayya says, “it is worthy of note that 
there is only one inscription of the temple (SII, II, 91) which 
mentions presents made of silver. Most of the other inscriptions 
record gifts of gold”. The Government Epigraphist humorously 
remarks : “It looks as if the king had more gold and precious 
stones at his disposal than silver”. This inscription contains a 
list of silver utensils which are said to have borne the names of 
Sivapadasekharan and Sri Rajarajan and derived from the three 
sources, viz-, (1) the king’s own treasure, (2) the booty seized 
in the war against the Chera king and the Pandyas in Malai 
Nadu, and (3) the silver seized in the same campaign. The in- 
scription is damaged at different portions and thus prevents a full 
enlistment of all the silver utensils and aids for worship ( velliyin 
tirupparikkalangal) . Silver items, like gold items, were measured 
(weighed) by the unit of weight (for precious metals and stones) 
called the Adavallan. In all, a total of 155 silver items (vessels 
and utensils) were given to the Lord. There are seven more items 
which are not decipherable, apart from a number of items which 
have been lost to us as the inscription is much damaged at six 
places. These 155 items of silver weigh a total of 48,400 kalanjus. 
The inscription gives a complete list of these items with the 
weight of each including that of gold wherever it is an added 
element. 

(B) Kundavai 

Having set up the four icons mentioned in the earlier section, 
she proceeded to endow them as also the images of the two Vitan- 
kars set up by her brother, with ornaments and jewels, whose 
number, value and variety stagger the imagination of the reader. 
She gave to 

(1) the image of her mother, 20 ear-rings ( kambi ) valued at 
six kasus , and a string of beads for the marriage badge ( tali-mani 
vadam ) , 

(2) the god Dakshina Meru Vitankar an ornament consisting 
of a single string on which were strung 35 old pearls, two corals, 
two lapis lazuli, one talimbam, one padugan and one kokkuvay, 
equal in value to 1 1 kasus, and 



MIDDLE CIIOLA TEMPLES 


Go 


(3) the goddess Uma Paramesvari, the Consort of Dakshina 
Meru Vitankar, an ornament consisting of a single string on 
which were strung thirty-five old pearls, viz., roundish pearls, 
polished pearls and small pearls, two corals, two lapis lazuli, 
one talimbam, one padugan , and one kokkuvay, valued at 12 kasus. 

In addition, for decorating the sacred hall ( tiruvarangu ) which 
the goddess Uma Paramesvari, the Consort of the Lord Dakshina 
Meru Vitankar, and the goddess Uma Paramesvari, the Consort 
of Tanjai Vitankar, occupied while on procession during the 
sacred festival (tiru vilaa ), she gave 3,500 kalanjus of gold, which 
was a quarter superior in fineness to the gold standard called 
dandayani and 1,500 kalanjus of gold which was one degree 
inferior to that standard, making a total of 5,000 kalanjus of 
gold. 

Further, for the sacred food (tiru arnudu), temple garlands 
( tiruppallittamam ), oil for the sacred lamps and other expenses 
( alivu ) required when the goddess Uma Paramesvari, the Consort 
of Dakshina Meru Vitankar and the goddess Uma Parames- 
vari, the Consort of Tanjai Vitankar were carried in procession, 
she deposited money with various village bodies, on interest 
in kind, i.e. paddy at the rate of three kurunis per kasu per year 
(which worked out to I2|%) to be delivered into the treasury 
of the temple of Rajarajesvaram, measured by the standard unit 
of volumetric measure for grains known as the Adavallan. 

To meet the requirements of the image of Ponnraligait Tunjiva 
Devar, she made the following arrangements : 

(1) one set of arrangements, similar to the above one, under 
which paddy as interest in kind at the rate of three kurunis per 
kasu per year on money (kasu) deposited with them, was to be 
measured into the sacred treasury, and for this purpose, she 
deposited with the local body of Gandaraditta chaturvediman- 
galam a sum of 520 kasus bearing an annual interest of 130 kalams 
of paddy. 

(2) In addition, she enumerated a list of items connected 
with the daily worship of this image, for which a total of 51 
kasus per year was needed. And this amount was to be met by the 
interest on certain deposits of cash she made with the various 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 6 1 

villages* which was to be paid into the sacred treasury in cash 
at the rate of one-eighth of an akkam (one twelfth of a kasu) 
per month per kasu as interest. 

(3) In addition, for keeping ten twilight lamps burning for 
this deity, she deposited with Pirantakan Achchan Adigal 32 
kasus for purchasing 96 sheep (at the rate of three sheep for one 
kasu) whose milk was to be converted to ghee and used for keep- 
ing the lights burning and for this purpose this donee was to 
give one ulakku of ghee every day. 

An almost identical arrangement was made by Kundavai 
for the worship to be offered to the image of her mother V anavan 
Mahadevi, set up by her. This was in three parts : 

(1) For the general expenses of worship, she deposited 520 
kasus with the village of Kundavai-nallur, fetching 130 kalams 
of paddy as interest per annum; 

(2) The cash required for the purchase of sacred cloth, 
curtains, towels, canopies and other items was to be deposited 
in the sacred treasury, being the interest on a capital of 
488 kasus deposited by Kundavai with the assembly of .Sri 
Parantakachaturvedimangalam ; and 

(3) She deposited with Pattattalan Kaliyan Paradan (Bharatan 
32 kasus for the purchase of sheep for ten twilight lamps to be 
maintained before the image of her mother. 

What elaborate arrangements ! 

Yet another inscription (SII, II, 2) gives further information 
on the contribution of Kundavai ; it consists of three distinct 
parts. The first part (comprising paras 1 to 12) mentions that 
on the 310th day of the twenty-fifth year of Rajaraja I, 


*Details of the cash amounts deposited with various villages : 


Village 

Capital 

Interest 


in kasus 

in kasus 

Viranarayana-chaturvedimangalam 

1 96 

241 

Parantaka-chaturvedimangalam 

1 12 

h 

Sulamangalam 

100 

12* 

Total 

408 

51 



62 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


Kundavai, the queen of Vallavaraiyar Vandyadevar and elder 
sister of Rajaraja I, presented eleven gold vessels to the “goddess 
Uma Paramesvari, who is the Consort of our Lord Adavallar”; the 
second part enumerates similar gifts of gold vessels and ornaments 
which were made by her between the twenty-fifth and twenty- 
ninth years of Rajaraja I “to goddess Uma Paramesvari who is 
the Consort of our Lord Adavallar Dakshina Meru Vitankar’ 
(paras 14 to 42). The last portion (paras 44 to 59) lists out 
the gifts to the goddess Uma Paramesvari, “who is the Consort 
of our Lord Tanjai Vitankar”. A third inscription, relating to 
Kundavai’s contribution to the temple (SII, II, 7) covers her 
gifts to the images set up by her in the Rajarajesvaram temple, 
till the third regnal year of her nephew, Rajendra I. It mentions 
13 more ornaments of gold and jewels, given by her to “Uma 
Paramesvari, who is the Consort of our Lord Dakshina Meru 
Vitankar” until the 3rd year of the reign of Kopparakesarivarman 
alias Rajendradeva. The descriptions of these ornaments are very 
elaborate. 

The total value of all the 13 pieces of jewellery and ornaments 
adds up to 11,820 kasus in all. It may be noticed that all these 
pieces relate to one image set up by her. 

Kundavai’s gifts to the icons set up by her and others (SII, 
II, 8) in the temple of temples were unceasing. A further record 
relates to similar gifts of a number of ornaments of gold and jewels 
which were presented by her until the third year of the reign of 
Rajendra I, the donees here also being the images which she 
had set up herself. This inscription which is in three sections 
of nine lines each ends in the middle with the statement that the 
inscription is continued at the bottom of the south wall of the 
portico, which unfortunately is built in. From the published 
part of the inscription we have the list of gifts given to the Consort 
of Dakshina Meru Vitankar and the Consort of Tanjai Vitankar. 
These are: five pieces of gold ornaments, comprising a girdle, 
two foot-rings (anklets ?) and two sri-pada-sayalam, gifted to 
Uma Paramesvari, the Consort of Dakshina Meru Vitankar, 
adding up to a total value of 6,200 kasus ; 15 items of ornaments 
of gold consisting of a crown, ear-rings, pendants, sayalam, necklace 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA I*S TIME 


6 3 


and others, weighing in all about 391 kalanjus, whose value is 
not given ; and two items of jewellery made up of a makuta and 
a garland, the former valued at 700 kasus. 

(G) Rajendra I 

During Rajendra I’s time gifts were made to the following 
deities : 

1. Lord of Rajarajesvaram 

2. Kiratarjuniya devar 

3. Pichchadevar 

4. Maha Meru Vitankar 

5. Kalyanasundarar and His Consort 

6. Ghandesvara devar 

7. Dakshina Meru Vitankar 

Until the sixth year of Rajendra I, Guru Isana Siva Pandita, 
Udaya Divakaran Tillaiyaliyar ( alias Rajaraja Muvendavelar), 
a minister ( adhikarin ) and a native of Kanchi-vayil and the 
Valangai Parambadaigalitar, each deposited 180, 13 and 252 
kasus respectively with the temple, as represented by Chandesvara 
devar. These amounts were given out on interest to the assembly 
of Nedumanal alias Madanamanjari chaturvedimangalam. 
These amounts were supplemented by 805 kasus given out of 
the sacred treasury of the Lord, thus making a total of 1250 
kasus. Towards interest on 1070 kasus, the said assembly was 
to measure with the Adavallan marakkal, 267 kalams, one tuni 
and a padakku of paddy into the large treasury of the Lord at 
Tanjavur and towards interest on the remaining amount of 180 
kasus, the assembly was to pay every year into the treasury 22I 
kasus. 

The amounts (paddy and cash) thus received as interest 
were to be utilised as follows : 

(?) out of 22| kasus (which was the interest on the deposit 
of 180 kasus by Guru Isana Siva Pandita), 56-]- kalanjus of camphor 
( karpuram ) was to be bought. 

(«) the interest of paddy on the 13 kasus deposited by the 
minister was to be used for the sacred food and other require- 
ments of the image of Kiratarjuniya Devar set up by him ; and 



64 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


(in) the interest of paddy on the amounts deposited by the 
army regiment and the sacred treasury was to be used for the 
sacred food and other requirements of the image of Pichcha- 
devar, whose maintenance and worship was made the respon- 
sibility of this particular regiment by the king. It will be seen 
later that a similar arrangement was made for the other deities 
of the temple by royal order (SII, II, 9). 

A further amount of gq kasus was deposited with the assembly 
of Irumbudal, alias Manikulachchulamani chaturvediman- 
galam (present day Alangudi in Tanjavur dist.), a brahmadeya 
in Avur kurram in Nittavinoda valanadu in or before the tenth 
year of Rajendra I ; the interest in paddy on this amount was to 
be utilised for food and other expenses of the image of Kiratar- 
juna Devar, referred to earlier (SII, II, 10). 

The same assembly accepted 506 kasus from the funds made 
available by the Sirudanattu Panimakkal (the servants of the small 
treasury) and paid annually as interest three kurunis of paddy 
per year per kasu for the sacred food and other expenses required 
for the image of Maha Meru Vitankar and His Consort which 
had been set up by Rajaraja I (SII, II, 10). 

The assembly of Arumolideva chaturvedimangalam in 
Purangarambai nadu of Arumolideva valanadu accepted (from 
Chandesvara devar) on interest a deposit of 294 kasus, which 
the Niyayam Sirundanattu panimakkal, who were attached to 
the images of Maha Meru Vitankar and his Consort had 
deposited for the services to the two deities, whose expenditure 
was to be met from the interest at the usual money rate (SII, 

n, u). 

The images of Kalyanasundarar and His Consort, which were 
set up by Trailokya Mahadevi, one of the queens of Rajaraja I, 
were by royal order made the responsibility of the Nyayangalilar 
and the latter body deposited for the expenses required by these 
images, sums which were received as follows: 

i) The Keralantaka-vasal-tiru-meykkappar 1 1 8 kasus 

ii) The Anukkavasal-tiru-meykkappar 8 ,, 

iii) The Keralantaka-terinda-parivarattar 35 ,, 

iv) The Jananatha-terinda-parivarattar 5 ,, 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA I’s TIME 


65 


v) The Singalantaka-terinda-parivarattar 1 „ 

vi) The Parivara-meykkappargal of Tenkarai 

nadu 339 „ 

all making a total of . . 506 kasus 

On this capital, the same assembly was to credit into the temple 
treasury the interest in cash annually at the usual rate of interest 

(SII, II, 11). 

The Pandita-sola-terinja-villaligal, a contingent of the Niyayam 
Perundanattu valangai-velaikkara-padaigal, which was a regiment 
of the Chola army, were attached to the main deity of the Raja- 
rajesvaram temple; they deposited with Chandesvarar, who in 
turn was to give the interest to the assembly of Palliyil, in Nenmali 
nadu, a subdivision of Arulmolideva valandu, 3 1 kasus on money 
interest, for the expenses required for this image. Similarly the 
Nittavinoda terinda valangai velaikkarar, another contingent of the 
army, deposited 13 kasus with the same assembly for the same 
purpose (SII, II, 12). 

The Niyayam-uttama-sola-terinda-andalagattalar, who were 
attached to the image of Chandesvarar which had been set up by 
Perundanam Irayiravan Pallavayan alias Mummadisola Posan 
alias Uttama Sola Pallavaraiyan deposited 60 kasus with the 
same assembly for the services to that image to be conducted out 
of the money interest on the said sum (SII, II, 1 2) . 

The Rajavinoda-terinda-valangai-velaikkarar, a contingent of 
the Niyayam Perundanattu valangai-velaikkara-padaigal, who were 
attached to the Lord of the Rajarajesvaram temple deposited with 
the assembly of Perumbalamarudur, a brahmadeya in Puran- 
garambai nadu for the expenses required for this image, a sum of 
310 kasus on money interest. The Chandaparakrama-terinda-valangai- 
velaikkarar deposited 223 kasus for the same purpose, and the 
Pandita-Sola-terinda-villaliyar 267 kasus, also for the same purpose. 
They total 800 kasus (SII, II, 13). 

The Niyayam-Sirundanattu-valangai-velaikkara-padaigalilar, who 
were attached by royal order to the image of Dakshina Meru 
Vitankar set up by Rajaraja I, had deposited 1000 kasus with 



66 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


the assembly of Kalappal, a brahmadeya in Purangarambai nadu 
of Arumolideva valanadu for meeting the expenses of services 
to this image out of the interest (of 125 kasus) (SII, II, 14). 

The same army regiment deposited a further sum of 500 
kasus, for the same deity’s requirements, with the assembly of 
Vanganagar, a brahmadeya of Purangarambai nadu, mentioned 
earlier (SII, II, 15). 

Again, the same army regiment deposited 300 kasus for the 
services to the same deity, with the assembly of Kori, a brahmadeya 
in the same nadu as above; 37^ kasus was the interest to be paid 
into the sacred treasury (SII, II, 16). 

The same regiment, for the same purpose, for the same deity 
deposited 800 kasus bearing an annual interest of 100 kasus with 
the assembly of Arinjigai chaturvedimangalam (SII, II, 17). 
A similar investment of 500 kasus was made with the assembly 
of Kundavai chaturvedimangalam (SII, II, 18). 

Further, the same regiment, for the same purpose, for the 
same deity, deposited 500 kasus, bearing an annual interest of 62-| 
kasus, with the assembly of Panaiyur, a brahmadeya in Purangaram- 
bai nadu (SII, II, 19). 

The icon of Dakshina Meru Vitankar appears to have received 
massive grants and considerable attention. 

(D) By Officers 

Gifts (other than icons) made by the officers of Rajaraja I 
are again numerous. 

1 . Kadan Ganavadi 

Among them are those made by one Kadan Ganavadi 
(Ganapati), a native of Muruganallur in Puliyur nadu, a sub- 
division of Arulmolideva valanadu, and a pani magan (servant) 
of the minor treasury ( sirudanam ) of the Lord Sri Rajaraja devar. 
He deposited 56 kasus with the perumakkal of the perangadi of 
Tribhuvanamahadevi, which was situated within the city limits 
of the capital (of Tanjavur) for meeting the annual expenses on 
cardamom seeds and big champaka buds, out of the interest of 
seven kasus. This was for the main deity of the Rajarajesvaram 
temple. 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 


67 

Similarly, for supplying 2,160 palams of scented roots*, a 
principal amount of 30 kasus was received on interest by the 
members of the assembly of Iramanur, a brahmadeya of Miraik- 
kurram, a subdivision of Vadakarai Rajendrasimha valanadu 
(SII, II, 24). 

2. Rajakesari Kodandaraman 

Rajakesari Kondandaraman alias Jayangondasola Kadigai 
Marayan, a musician from Nattarmangalam in Manni nadu, a 
subdivision of Rajendrasimha valanadu, deposited 40 kasus of 
money on interest. With the assembly of Viranarayana chatur- 
vedimangalam, a taniyur in Rajendrasimha valanadu which 
accepted this deposit and agreed to pay five kasus to the treasury 
of the temple to meet the remuneration of ten musicians who 
beat the tirupparai (sacred drum) to announce certain festivals 
of the temple (SII, II, 25). 

3. Karayil Eduttapadam 

Karayil Eduttapadam, a native of Rajakesarinallur in Inga 
nadu, a subdivision of Arulmolideva valanadu, who was the head- 
man ( kilaan ) of the said village and the minister who wrote the 
orders of Sri Raj arajadevar ( Tirumandira-olai) , deposited a sum of 
50 kasus with the assembly of Perunangai-mangalam, a brahmadeya 
in Vennikkurram, a subdivision of Nittavinoda valanadu on 
interest for the purchase of camphor to burn a perpetual lamp. 

From another record, we come to know of the donation of 100 
kasus for the feeding of the Sivayogins. The name of the donor 
is lost. The money was received by the assembly of Perunangai- 
mangalam, who agreed to pay three kurunis of paddy per kasu 
per year, to be delivered to the big treasury of the temple. 

Two hundred and forty Sivayogins were to be fed on 24 
festival days (including the Tiru-Sadaiyam festivals) (SII, II, 28). 

4. Adittan Suryan 

Adittan (Adityan) Suryan alias Tennavan Muvendavelan 
who was in charge of the management of the temple of Rajarajes- 
varam, deposited 78 kasus on interest with the assembly of 


*Ilamajjaka (Sanskrit) = khas in Hindustani, a root used for adding fragrance to water. 



68 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


Perunangai-mangalam, which in turn was to measure every year 
19 kalams, one tuni and one padakku of paddy into the treasury. 
Another sum of 16 kasus was also deposited under the same 
conditions so as to yield an annual interest of two kasus for 
burning camphor lamp along with the incense offered to the Lord 
of the temple and to the image of Dakshina Meru Vitankar. 
Thus 78 kasus for paddy and 16 kasus for camphor were donated 
by Adittan Suryan (SII, II, 26). 

The same donor gifted in the second year of Rajendra I, four 
pots made of copper with gold coating, to the temple of Chandes- 
varar. He also presented copper, zinc ( tara ) and bell-metal vessels 
to the image of Pillaiyar Ganapatiyar in the main temple and 
a number of pieces of jewellery to the Pillaiyar Ganapatiyar of 
the Parivaralayam (SII, II, 86). 

Appointment of Temple Servants and Administrative 
Arrangements 

(1) Land grants by Rajaraja I 

Rajaraja I gave extensive lands as devadana to the temple of 
Rajarajesvaram from all over his empire for the expenses (niban- 
dangal) required for the Supreme Lord ( Paramasvamin ) of the sacred 
stone temple ( karrali ) : Udaiyar Sri Rajarajadevar Tanjavur edupittta 
tiru-karrali Sri Rajarajesvaram udaiyar paramasvamikku vendu nivan- 
dangalukkut devadanamagach cholamandalattum puramandalangalilum 
udaiyar Sri Rajarajadevar kudutta. . . . (SII, II, 4). The revenue 
(kanik-kadan) from these villages was settled orally and then 
engraved on stone in the temple of Tanjavur. It was laid down 
whether the dues to the temple were to be paid in kind (paddy) 
or in cash (gold), or both. In the case of payments in kind, -the 
paddy was to be measured by the marakkal called the cc Adavallan” , 
which was equal to the standard unit of volumetric measure for 
grains then prevailing viz., the Rajakesari. A replica of this standard 
unit of measure was preserved in the temple for reference. For 
fixing the levy on the village, the total area of the village was 
taken, and the area of the land of public utility excluded. Such 
excluded areas were the village site (ur-irukkai-nattam) , the sites 
and the surrounding courtyards ( tiru-murram ) of the temples in 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA I’s TIME 69 

the village like those of Mahadevar, Pidari, Settaiyar ( Jyeshtha- 
devi) and other deities, the channels which pass through the 
village, the stables, the burning ground of the cultivators, the 
burning ground of the paraiyars, the paraichcheri and the ilachcheri, 
the kammanachcheri, the stone-fold ( kar-kidai ) for cattle, the sacred 
bathing pond (tirumanjanak-kulam), the other ponds and their 
banks, the threshing floor, pasture land for cattle etc. The remain- 
ing area is assessed to land rent. These details are contained in 
three inscriptions of the twenty-ninth year of Rajaraja I (SII, 
II, 4, 5 and 92). From the first and thesecond inscriptions, we get 
a fund of interesting information about the administrative set-up 
of the empire. From the last of the three inscriptions, which deals 
with the lands donated by the ruler in the outlying provinces, 
we learn of the assignment to the temple of certain villages in 
Tondai nadu which bore the alternate name of Jayangondasola 
mandalam, after another surname of Rajaraja I, Pandi Nadu 
which bore the second name of Rajaraja mandalam (and which 
later on during the son’s reign was to be renamed Rajaraja Pandi 
Nadu), Gangapadi, Nulamba-padi (also called “Nigarilisola- 
padi”), MalaiNadu, and Ham (Sri Lanka) which was alternately 
christened Mummadisola mandalam. It may be recalled that 
in the inscription SII, II, 4 mention was made of villages in Chola- 
mandalam and the puramandalams, meaning the outlying pro- 
vinces; this inscription covers the latter category of villages. 
While the villages in Chola mandalam alone number forty, 
those in the outlying provinces are comparatively few. While 
the revenue payable from the land in the villages of Chola manda- 
lam was mainly in the shape of paddy, the exceptions being 
barely half a dozen where the payment was in terms of kasu and 
that too mainly in respect of nagarams, in respect of the outlying 
provinces the payment was partly in kind and partly in gold. 

In respect of the forty villages in the heartland, the record 
goes into considerable details. In fact, the details regarding the 
extent of land (possibly determined after the great survey that 
Rajaraja I made during his reign) are amazing and can compare 
with those collected through any sophisticated modern machinery 
of Government set up for conducting land survey. 



70 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


From the lands of the 40 villages and towns lying in the 
valanadus (districts) of Arulmolideva, Kshatriyasikhamani, Uyyak- 
kondan, Rajasraya, Nittavinoda and Rajendrasimha, Rajaraja I 
assigned for worship and for other requirements of the temple 
of Rajarajesvaram a total of 1,20,119 kalams of paddy and a sum 
of 1004 kasus. 

In the case of Sri Lanka, the arrangement was somewhat 
different from the others. The villages were required to remit 
the revenue in the shape of paddy or money or iluppai-pal. The 
last expression literally translated means “the milk of the tree of 
Bassia longifolia” the oil from whose seeds is used extensively for 
burning temple-lamps in the south and Sri Lanka. This oil was 
measured in terms of marakkal, kuruni and nali. 

In all, leaving out the particulars of some villages which 
are obliterated in the inscriptions, 25,770 kalams of paddy, 1630 
kalanjus of gold and 9 kalams of iluppai-pal were to be delivered 
annually to the temple from the outlying provinces of the 
empire. 

The extensive land survey undertaken by Rajaraja I over the 
entire length and breadth of his empire covering Chola mandalam, 
Pandi mandalam, Ila mandalam (Sri Lanka), Tondai mandalam 
and the conquered territories up to the banks of the Tungabhadra 
and the Godavari is unique in the history of the world. It is a strange 
coincidence that William the Conqueror of England undertook 
the Domesday survey of the conquered land, about three-fourths 
of a century later. But in elaboration, classification of land varieties 
and the nature of tax assessment worked out, the Rajaraja survey 
stands out as an unparalleled instance of its kind. The measure- 
ment was precise to the extent of 52,428,000,000th part of a veil 
(about 6 acres), particularly in respect of wet lands. This survey 
was brought uptodate later by Kulottunga I in his sixteenth 
year and again by his successors from time to time. Rajaraja I 
was anticipating by centuries the work of Todar Mall and Abul 
Fazl during the Mughal period and of Sivaji and the Marathas 
(under the Peshwas) of the seventeenth century a.d. The honour 
for this extensive land survey and settlement should go to Raja- 
raja I and the officer-in-charge of the mammoth operations, 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 7 1 

Senapati Kuravan Ulagalandan alias Rajamaharajan ( Ulagalan - 
dan means he who measured the world). 

(2) Appointment of Treasurers, Accountants and Temple Servants 

Rajaraja I set up an elaborate administrative machinery for 
running the huge establishment of the temple; he issued orders, 
and had them engraved on stone in the temple, that the inhabit- 
ants of the brahmadeyas in Ghola mandalam, in Pandi Nadu 
alias Rajaraja mandalam and in Tondai Nadu alias Jayangonda 
Ghola mandalam should supply to the Lord of the Sri Rajarajes- 
varar temple (SII, II, 69): 

(i) as temple treasurers, such brahmanas as were rich in 
land, connections or capital, 

iii) brahmacharins ( manigal ) for working as temple servants 
( tirupparicharakam seyya), and 

{iii) accountants ( karanattar ) for maintaining the temple 
accounts ( kanakkeluda ) . 

And it was also laid down in the order that each treasurer 
should be given a certain number of kalams of paddy per year ; 
each brahmacharin, one padakku of paddy per day and four kasus per 
year (somewhat higher rates for those who had taken vows?) 
and each accountant and sub-accountant 200 kalams and 75 
kalams per year respectively. It was further laid down that the 
temple servants should draw their allowances at the city treasury 
(; ullur bhandaram) of the lord of the Sri Rajarajesvarar temple and 
the treasurers {bhandari) , accountants and sub-accountants at 
the up-country treasuries {nattu- bhandaram) . 

Leaving aside the instances where, owing to damage to the 
inscriptions, the number of servants to be supplied by some villages 
is not available, we get to know that four treasurers, 174 brahma- 
charins, seven accountants and nine sub-accountants were provided 
for service in the temple by a total of 144 villages, lying in the 
eight districts of Arumolideva valanadu, Kshatriyasikhamani 
valanadu, Uyyakkondan valanadu, Rajendrasimha valanadu, 
Rajasraya valanadu, Keralantaka valanadu, Pandyakulasani 
valanadu and Nittavinoda valanadu, all in the province of Chola 
mandalam. The actual numbers are likely to be slightly more. 



7 2 MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 

(3) Watchman for the Temple 

Before his twenty-ninth year, Rajaraja I made elaborate 
arrangements for the security of the temple by appointing a large 
number of watchmen known as “ meykkappu” (body-guards) ; his 
order in this connection was to the effect that the inhabitants of 
the hrahmadeyas in Chola mandalam should supply temple watch- 
men to the Lord of the Rajarajesvaram, and that to each of these 
temple-watchmen, the inhabitants of the respective villages 
which supplied them should measure out 100 kalams of paddy 
per year by way of remuneration. This paddy was to be supplied 
and daily allowances paid every year, by the inhabitants of the 
respective villages, out of the tax due. And under royal orders, 
these allowances were engraved on stone. The order is contained 
in two inscriptions (SII, II, 57 and 70) which incidentally confirm 
that there were, to the north and south respectively of the Raja- 
rajan Tim-vasal, a shrine each to Isana Deva and Agni Deva, in 
the directions appropriate to these dikpalas. The list* contains 
as many as 1 3 1 villages, which among them contributed mostly 
one, in a few cases, two, and in one case, 6 watchmen to the 
temple, the total being 143 watchmen in all. 

From the inscription SII, II, 1 1 , we get to know that there 
were three contingents of meykkappus, two guarding the Keralan- 
taka gate (the outer gopuram ) and one the Anukka gate. We have 
already noted that the latter unit of the army was entrusted 
with certain responsibilities for maintaining the worship of the 
images of Kalyanasundarar and his Consort, set up by Trailokya 
Mahadevi, a queen of Rajaraja I. 

From these two inscriptions, we also get the names of the 
following queens: Pallavan Mahadevi, Vanavan Mahadevi, 

*We learn from these and other grants that Chola mandalam comprised at least nine districts 
viz., 

1. Arumolideva Valanadu 5. Rajasraya Valanadu 

2. Kshatriyasikhamani Valanadu 6. Keralantaka Valanadu 

3. Uyyakkondan Valanadu 7. Pandyakulasani Valanadu 

4. Rajendrasimha Valanadu 8. Nittavinoda Valanadu and 

9. Vadagarai Rajaraja Valanadu. 

Each of them in turn contained several subdivisions (nadus and kurrams). (For a detailed list 
of these, see SII, II, Part V, Addenda and Corrigenda, pp. 21-27.) 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 


73 

Trailokya Mahadevi, Panchavan Mahadevi, Chola Mahadevi, 
Valavan Mahadevi and Ologa Mahadevi (Loga Mahadevi). 

(4) Talip-Pendir ( Temple Women or Ladies ) and Temple Servants 
The meticulous attention that Rajaraja I gave to the detailed 
administration and functioning of the Rajarajesvaram, is further 
demonstrated by the care with which he selected the men and 
women functionaries attached to the temple. In an elaborate 
record dated in his 29th regnal year (SII, II, 66), enshrining 
his order, Rajaraja I assigned the produce of certain lands to a 
number of men who had to perform various services in connection 
with the management of the temple and to four hundred women 
whose services were transferred from a large number of temples 
situated in various parts of his empire; each one of them was given 
an allowance ( nibandham ) in the form of shares ( pangu ), each share 
consisting of the net produce of one veil (26.755 square metres) of 
land which again was stipulated as one hundred kalams of paddy 
measured by the standard (wooden) measure ( marakkal ) called 
ee Adavallan” , standardised and made equal to the royal standard 
called c< Rajakesari” . It was further stipulated that in the event of 
any of these share-holders dying or emigrating, the nearest 
relations of such persons were to receive the shares and to dis- 
charge the ordained duty. In the event of the nearest relations not 
being qualified, they (presumably the nearest relations) were 
to select (other) qualified persons and get them to do the work 
and receive the allowance. Should there be no near relations, the 
(other) incumbents of such appointments were to select qualified 
persons from among those fit for such appointments, and the 
persons so selected and appointed were to be entitled to the 
allowance. The names of all these persons were ordered by the 
king to be engraved on stone. 

For accommodating these new incumbents in the service of 
the temple, two entire streets were newly formed, called the 
“Terkku” and “Vadakku Talich-cheri” (the south and the north 
temple streets), each having two rows, the northern and the 
southern, there being as many as about a hundred houses to a 
row. The female temple-servants brought over from various 



74 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


other temples were given a house each in these streets, besides 
the remuneration in kind. 

This inscription provides indirect confirmation of the existence, 
by the twenty-ninth year of Rajaraja I, of a large number of 
temples in the Chola empire, which is of considerable historical 
significance, apart from enabling us to date many of the temples. 
We have here a number of Vishnu shrines which find mention 
in the Nalyirap-prabandham, like Arangam, Tiruvengadam, Ah and 
Tirukkurugur besides others like Avani-narayana-vinnagar at 
Ambar, Sritali-vinnagar at Arapuram and Sripudi-vinnagar at 
Pambuni. 

A number of Saiva temples, which find mention in the Periya 
Puranam are also to be found in this inscription. (The Periya 
Puranam names, whenever they differ in form from the inscriptional 
names, are given in brackets below) : 

Araneri at Tiruvarur; Tirumandali (Paravai-un-mandali) 
at Tiruvarur; Tirumulattanam (Mulattanam) at Tiruvarur; 
Tirumangalam (Mangalam) at Ambar; Tirukkaronam (Karo- 
nam) at Nagappattinam (Nagai) ; Tiru-achchiramam (Achchira- 
mam) at Pachchil, Tiruppadali-Isvaram (Padalichcharam) at 
Pambuni; Vadatali at Palaiyaru (Palaiyarai) ; Ambalam, Pon- 
nambalam, Tillai, Porkoil-Tillai or Manram (Chidambaram) ; 
Ambattur; Kadambur; Kandiyur; Karayil (near Tiruvarur); 
Karuvur; Kottur; Nallur; Pandana-nallur; Paluvur (Tirup- 
paluvur) ; Talaiyalangadu; Tiruchchorrutturai (Chorrutturai) ; 
Tirukkollambudur (Kollambudur) ; Tirumaraikkadu or Maraik- 
kadu (Vedaranyam) ; Tiruneyttanam (Neyttanam) i.e., Til- 
laisthanam; Tiruppalanam ; Tiruppuvanam or Puvanam (in 
Pandya desa) ; Tiruttengur (Tengur) ; Tiruvaiyaru or Aiyaru; 
Tiruvalangadu ; Tiruvanaikka; Tiruvedigudi (Vedigudi) ; Tiru- 
vidaimarudil (Tiruvidaimarudur) ;Tunganai (Tunganai-madam) ; 
Vadavayil (Vadamullaivayil) ; Vayalur (Viyalur) and Venkadu 
(Tiruvenkadu) . As many as 91 temples located in 51 different 
places contributed these temple-women, some temples deputing 
as many as five to eight women. 

The names of these women are interesting. A number of them 
bear the names of well-known sacred places; while others have 



75 


TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 

taken the names of royal patrons and personages. Among the 
former are: Araneri, Tirumandali, Tirumulattanam, Tiru- 
magalam and Tirukkaronam ; and among the latter could be 
mentioned names like Rajaraji, Rajakesari, Arumoli (all names 
of Rajaraja I), Kundavai (Rajaraja I’s elder sister) and Arinjigai 
(after the name of the grandfather of Rajaraja I). Other such 
names are Kannaradevi and Seramangai. 

In addition to these female servants, a large number of male 
servants were appointed for various services to the temple; they 
received shares on the scale applied to the talip-pendir. Some of 
the professions connected with the fine arts mentioned here are 
those of dancers, actors, vocalists and instrumentalists, including 
players on the vangiyam (pipe) and the vina, a large number of 
drummers (uvachchar) , specifically among them, players of the 
small drum called udukkai and of the large drum called kotti- 
mattalam and yet others called sagadaik-kottigal ; singers in Sans- 
krit ( Ariyam ) and in Tamil; and blowers of the conch ( muttirai - 
sangu). In this connection, the terms gandharva and gandharvi 
applied to some male and female vocalists, and the term pakka- 
vadyar (accompanist), used without any further specifications of 
the profession or instrument used, if any, are of interest, even if 
their usage is somewhat mystifying. Other categories of servants 
mentioned include: a proclaimer of the commands of the Lord 
{tiru-vay-kelvi) , accountants and sub-accountants, astrologers 
and subordinates, holders of the sacred parasol ( tirup-pallit-tongal ) ; 
lamp-lighters, water-sprinklers, potters for the kitchen, washer- 
men, barbers, tailors, a jewel-stitcher (ratna-tayyan) , a brazier, a 
superintending goldsmith ( kankani-tattan ) for the minor treasury 
of the temple, and several specific individuals named from among 
the various troops ( velaikkarap-padaigal ) . Besides, the Chief Archi- 
tect and two Assistant Architects (tachcha-acharyan), Virasolan 
Kunjaramallan alias Rajaraja Perundachchan, Gunavan Madhu- 
rantakan alias Nittavinoda Perundachchan and Ilatti Sadaiyan 
alias Gandaraditta Perundachchan, were also the recipients of 
Rajaraja’s benevolence. They were evidently the architects who 
were entrusted with the erection of the temple at Tanjavur and 
after its consecration, with its maintenance. 



7 6 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


Altogether, by this order, Rajaraja I appointed, and made 
provision for the remuneration of, 400 women servants including 
dancers and 216 male servants including musicians, accountants 
and others, with the necessary supervisory staff. 

(5) The Role of Talip-Pendir in Temples 

There are some later inscriptions which throw light on the 
duties performed by talip-pendir and devaradiyar. An inscription 
(date lost) of Virarajendra from Tiruvorriyur gives us the follow- 
ing particulars : 

Sixty veils of waste land in Simhavishnu chaturvedimangalam 
were reclaimed and named “ Virarajendra vilagam”. From its 
income in paddy, gold and kasu, various items of expenses are 
mentioned, among which are the maintenance of (i) twenty-two 
taliyilar who danced and sang; (it) one dance-master who taught 
them dancing; and (Hi) sixteen devaradiyars (temple women) 
who recited the Tiruppadiyam in agamargam or low pitch (ARE 
128 of 1912). 

Another inscription of Rajaraja III from the same place 
mentions that a royal officer Vayalur Kilavan Tiruvegambam 
Udaiyar Sendamaraikkannan alias Vaiyiradarayan made a 
dedication of five women and their descendants for husking paddy 
in the temple (ARE 122 of 1912 from the Adipurisvarar temple). 
A similar practice obtained at Srirangam. 

Some other instances of dedicating women as devaradiyars 
to temple come from Tiruvakkarai in the South Arcot district 
and Tiruvallam in the North Arcot district. In the former case, 
three vellalas presented a woman ( adiyal ) and her daughter and 
their children ( makkal ) as devaradiyar to Tiruvakkarai Udaiya 
Mahadevar (ARE 183 of 1904, dated in the twenty-ninth year 
of Kulottunga I) ; in the latter case, a member of Irumudi-solat- 
terinda-villaligal dedicated five women of his family, including 
a daughter of his and her two daughters, as devaradiyar, in the 
service of the temple (“tiruvallam udaiyar sri padattile udagam panni 
tiruchchulam satti devaradiyar aga vitten ,, — ARE 230 of 1921). 

It is well known that the Rajarajesvaram had a large-sized 
granary for stocking more than a lakh of kalams of paddy intended 



temples of rajaraja fis time 


77 


for food offerings and connected services to the deities of the 
temple. Some of these talip-pendir might have been attached to 
the granary. The cleaning and the decoration of the temple 
premises and the gathering of flowers and making of garlands 
for the deities must have been done by those who had an apti- 
tude for the work. But, generally, they seem to have devoted 
themselves to singing, dancing, painting and allied fine arts. 
How much interest and attention Rajaraja I paid to music, 
dancing and painting is brought out from his inscriptions and 
those of his venerable elder sister Kundavai in the temples of 
Siva and Vishnu built about the same time at Dadapuram in 
the South Arcot district and at Tirumalai in the North Arcot 
district. 

(6) Recovery of the Devaram Hymns 

The ritual singing of the Devaram , also known as the Tirup- 
padiyam , in temples, is a practice of great antiquity; the singers 
of these hymns of Appar, Sambandar and Sundarar were known 
as “ Tiruppadiyam Vinnappam Seyvar ” or “ Pidarar We have no 
way of knowing when exactly this practice began, but, from about 
the middle of the eighth century a.d., we have inscriptional 
evidence of endowments being made for this purpose. 

The earliest epigraphical reference to such an endowment 
is found at Tiruvallam and relates to the seventeenth year of 
the reign of the Pallava Vijaya Nandivikraman alias Nandi- 
varman (II) of the middle of the eighth century a.d.* There are 
only very few Early Chola gifts for the recitation of the Devaram 
hymns. Without any pretensions to a full survey, we can trace 
at least three of them during the reign of Parantaka I. They 
are at Tiruvaduturai (third year— ARE 139 of 1925), Lalgudy 
(thirty-seventh year— ARE 373 of 1903) and Andanallur (four- 
teenth year — ARE 358 of 1903, see p.16 of Early Chola Temples ). 
Then we come to the reign of Rajaraja I. 

Rajaraja I had a strong religious bent. His patron deities 

‘Tiruvallam, Bilvanathesvarar temple : Vijaya-Nandi-Vikraman, on the north wall of 
the mahamandapa : “tiruppallittamam pariyarkkum tiruppadiyam ullitta pala pani seyvarkkum 
nellu nanurrukkadiyum ...” (are i-a of 1890). 



78 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


were Adavallan (Nataraja) of Chidambaram and Thyagesa (or 
Vitankar) of Tiruvarur. His religious fervour took two forms: 
one was the building of temples, the other was his desire to un- 
earth the vast and rich treasures of the Devaram hymns, not 
very much in vogue during his time. He decided to recover 
this great legacy. While he was thus pre-occupied, he heard 
of the miracles wrought by Nambi Andar Nambi of Tirunarai- 
yur. Nambi Andar Nambi’s father was a temple priest of Pollap- 
pillaiyar of Tirunaraiyur in Sonadu — a village lying between 
Chidambaram and Kattumannarkoyil (in the South Arcot 
district). One day the father asked his son to officiate for him 
during his absence, at the worship of Pollap-pillaiyar. The boy did 
so. But the Lord did not eat the food-offerings made by him. 
Annoyed at this, the boy attempted at self-immolation. Then 
Pollap-pillaiyar yielded to his prayers and the offered dishes 
vanished. The boy then requested the Pillaiyar to teach him 
too, as it was then too late to attend school. The Lord did so. 
It was a great miracle and the news reached the ears of the king 
then in distress about the mystery of the missing Devaram hymns. 

Rajaraja I rushed to Tirunariayur, arranged a festival in 
honour of the Pillaiyar and requested the miracle boy to help 
him recover the Devaram hymns. Inspired by his Pillaiyar, Nambi 
revealed that the full set of the Devaram hymns lay in a heap 
of cadjan leaves in a room in the western prakara of the Nata- 
raja temple at Chidambaram under the seals of the hymnists 
themselves. The king and Nambi went to Chidambaram and 
requested the Tillai-three-thousand to open the sealed room. 
The Dikshitars replied that the room could be opened only 
when the saints themselves were physically present. The Chola 
king then hit upon a strategem. He arranged a festival in honour 
of the Tamil Nayanmars. Their images were placed in front of 
the room. The seals broke and the closed room was thrown open. 
As prophesied, the cadjan heap was there, covered however 
with a mound, full of white ants flourishing upon the leaves. 
The king was in great distress. He was consoled by a divine 
voice that said that the heap contained whatever was necessary 
for that age. Oil was poured over the heap and the extant leaves 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 


79 


were salvaged. Nambi Andar Nambi’s redaction of the Devaram 
hymns led to a new life for these hymns, with Chidambaram 
(Tiruch-chirrambalam) as its centre. Chidambaram became 
the koyil — the temple of all Saivite temples in the Tamil land 
and Rajaraja, the Saviour of the Tamil hymns. 

Some scholars hold that this great event of the recovery 
of the Devaram hymns took place during the reign of Aditya I, 
not that of Rajaraja I. The appended note* examines the source 
material on which this theory is built and how this view is not 
sustainable. There is, as far as we know, no reference to endow- 
ments for the recitation of Devaram hymns during the reign 
of Aditya I. 


* Views of Pandarattar and Vellai Varanar : The fact that the recovery of the Devaram 
hymns is to be attributed to Rajaraja I is evident from the two works of Umapati Sivacharya, 
the great Samayacharya of the Saiva Siddhania school (late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries). 
In his Nambi Andar Nambi Puranam alias Tirumurai Kanda Puranam, he states that the king con- 
cerned was “... alahil-puhal-peru Rasarasamannan Abhayakula-sekharan” (stanza t), and 
again refers to that king as “Irasarasa mannavan” in stanza 6, and as “Kulasekhara” in 
stanza 13. In his other work, Tiruttondar Parana Varalaru alias Sekkilar Svamigal Puranam, this 
king is referred to as “ Seya-Tirumurai-Kanda Rasarasadeva” (stanza 24). 

Despite these clear indications of the name of the king concerned, two Tamil scholars — T.V. 
Sadasiva Pandarattar, in his History of the Later Cholas (in Tamil, Annamalai University), and, 
perhaps following his lead, Vellai Varanar, in his Panniru Tirumuraigal (in Tamil, Annamalai 
University) — hold the view that this achievement is to be ascribed to Aditya I. To support this 
view, they cite four stanzas (nos.50, 65, 8t and 82) from Tiruttondar Tiruvandadi written by Nambi 
Andar Nambi himself; this, incidentally, is an enlarged version of Saint Sundaramurti Nayanar’s 
Tiruttondat-togai, and these two works together form the source for Sekkilar’s Periya Puranam 
alias Tiruttondar Puranam. 

Of these, stanza 50 is on Pugal Chola Nayanar, described there as “Kogana-nathan Kulamu- 
dalon”. Kogananathan means the sun, and since Aditya is a synonym, the above scholars have 
apparently interpreted the description above as “an ancestor of Aditya”. This appears far- 
fetched; the obvious translation would be “a descendant of the solar dynasty” and, since the 
Cholas claimed to belong to it, would simply mean ‘ a Chola”. 

Stanza 65 is on Idangali Nayanar, described there as “ Sirrambala Mugadu Kongirk-Kanakam- 
aninda-Adittan-Kulamudsdon” (an ancestor of Aditya who gilded Sirrambalam with the gold 
obtained as booty from the conquest of Kongu). This description is echoed in Sekkilar’s Periya 
Puranam stanza 3 of the Idangali Nayanar Puranam'. “ marmiya Ponnambalattu mani muhattil pak- 
Kongin-pannu-tulaip-pasumponnal payil-pilambam misaiyaninda ponneduntol Adittan pugalimarabir-Kudi- 
mudalor". The reference here may be taken to be to Aditya I. 

Stanzas 81 and 82 are on Kochchengat-Cholan alias Kochchenganan. Stanza 81 calls him a 
Sembiyan ( = Chola) and stanza 82 describes him as “sempon anindu sirrambalattai sivalokam eidi 
namban kalal kil irundon Kulamudal” (an ancestor of [the king] who gilded sirrambalam and made it 
a Sivaloka [on earth] and sat at the feet of the Lord [there] . There is no explicit mention of Aditya I 
as the King referred to here; it could be any one of the many Chola kings who gilded the Chidam- 
baram temple, even Rajaraja I himself. 



8o 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


Thrilled with the recovery of the lost hymns, the greatest 
contribution made by any king for the growth of Tamil liter- 
ature, Rajaraja I arranged for the recitation of the hymns in 
the temple of his creation at the capital. He appointed 48 Pi- 
(larars or Tiruppadiyam-vinnappam-seyvars, for singing the hymns 
before Rajarajesvarar, and two drummers to play on the kettle 
drum and the big drum to keep beat as the others sang (SII, 
II, 65) and made liberal provision for their and their successors’ 
maintenance. As already noted, Rajaraja I cast an image of 
Siva (as Chandrasekharar) before whom he practised daily 
the singing of Devaram and this deity is named in his inscription 
as Devaradevar. 


The two scholars take the last description to refer to Aditya I apparently since his name is 
explicitly mentioned in a similar context in stanza 65. Thus they conclude that all the the three, 
stanzas (50, 65 and 82) refer to the same king, namely Aditya I, and hence that Nambi Andar 
Nambi must have been his contemporary and that the recovery of the Devaram hymns must, 
therefore, have taken place during his time. 

Our view is that only stanza 65 makes any explicit reference to Aditya I. As for stanza 82 
Aditya I is not the only king credited with gilding the sacred hall at Chidambaram: for instance, 
the description there finds an echo in Umapati Sivacharya’s Tiruttonda Purana Varalaru, making a 
reference to Kulottunga II alias Anapaya who also gilded the above hall and by his acts of merit 
converted Chidambaram into a Kailasa on earth: “ Perumparrappuliyur Bhuloka-Sivalokam-raa 
polindu tonra”. (The Periyapuranam, incidentally, confirms that Kochchenganan was an ancestor of 
Anapaya and thus of the Imperial Cholas: “ Anapayan mundai varum Kulamudalor aya mudar 
Senganar”). The three stanzas quoted merely imply that the three king-saints they refer to 
were Cholas and ancestors of the Chola dynasty but do not in any way prove that Nambi Andar 
Nambi was a contemporary of Aditya I. Thus the theory that Nambi Andar Nambi recovered 
the Devaram in the days of Aditya I has to be dismissed in favour of the theory that such a re- 
covery was made in the days of Rajaraja I. 

Devaram hymns : 

The view of the Government Epigraphist that the Devaram hymns were rescued and compiled 
during the reign of Kulottunga I cannot be sustained (see para 34, p. 149, ARE 1918). 

2. Tiruvunnaligai and Aganaligai 

(a) Sivapuram temple N0.30 - pp.167-170 of text. 

(b) Attur, Temple N0.37 - pp. 178- 185 of text. 

There are frequent references to Tiruvunnaligai - or Tiruvunnaligai sabhaiyar or udaiyar in the 
inscriptions of the Cholas in Chola desa. An inscription of Rajendra I from Sivapuram (Temple 
no.30, p.167-170) mentions the sale of land by the local sabha whose proceeds were to be used by 
the tiruvunnaligai udaiyar to feed a sivayogin at the time of offerings to the Lord (ARE 226 of 
1961-62). An inscription, in the same place, of Rajadhiraja I mentions the tinwunnaligai-udaiyar as 
one of the many beneficiaries in the list of the revenues due to the king (p.168). An inscrip- 
tion in the sixteenth year of Kulottunga I (ARE 145 of 1900) mentions a gift of cows for curds 
and a sheep for lamps which were given over to the tiruvunnaligai sabhaiyar of the temple who 
agreed to maintain the charity. A variant of the term tiruvunnaligaiyar found current in the Pandya 
desa is Aganaligaiyar. In the Somanatha temple at Attur (temple No. 37, p.178) there is a record of 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 8 1 

The singing of Devaram hymns by oduvars was also followed 
in other temples of Tamil land, a practice which has come down 
to modern times. 

( 7 ) Gifts for Lamps in the Temple of Rajarajesvaram 

The lighting arrangements for the Rajarajesvaram received 
particular attention at the hands of the Emperor. As many 
as about 160 lamps and torches lit up the campus of the temple 
and its various shrines; and for providing ghee for burning these 
lamps, the king made extensive grants to shepherds in various 
parts of the empire for maintaining cows, she-buffaloes and 
ewes; these shepherds were called upon to deliver into the temple 
treasury a certain quantity of ghee for lamps. 

These gifts are covered by two very elaborate inscriptions 
(SII, II, 63 and 94 ; 64 and 95). Nos. 63 and 94, which are taken 
up together first, consist of a list of shepherds who had to supply 
ghee for the temple lamps from a number of cattle, which had 
been presented to the temple before the twenty-ninth regnal 
year by the king himself. To each lamp were allotted 96 ewes, 
or 48 cows or 16 buffaloes, which were assigned to various 
shepherds ( idaiyar ). They had to supply ghee to the treasury of 
the Lord at the daily rate of one ulakku measured by the stand- 
ard measure known as AdavallarT. 

The shepherds who resided either in the capital city of 
Tanjavur or in its vicinity understandably received a large 
share of these allocations of she-buffaloes, cows and ewes. They 


Rajaraja I (ARE 419 of 1929-30) which states that the tinwunnaligaiyar (p.178) agreed to provide 
offerings to the deity with the income from the land endowed. An inscription of Vira 
Rajendra Chola Deva records a gift of money to the aganaligaiyar (p.179) for a lamp in the temple 
(ARE 400 of 1929-30). In Attur both these terms are used and they should refer to the Committee 
in charge of the temple-stores corresponding to the modern term ugranam, which receive gifts 
from the public and are engaged in the work of collecting and distributing various articles of the 
sacred bath, food offerings to the deities and other items used at the time of worship. They were 
in charge of the maintenance and proper administration of this department of the temple. 

The Government Epigraphist has interpreted the term * Tiruvunnaligai’ as the main sanctum 
( mulasthanam or garbhagriha) of the temple. This interpretation has been accepted by some scholars 
and used in this sense in their publications. In the light of the above clarification, this interpre- 
tation of the term does not seem to be valid. 



82 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


resided in ten streets described as being outside ( purambadi ) 
Tanjavur, namely, Gandharva-teru, Villigal-teru, Anaik-kaduvar- 
teru, Anaiyatkal-teru, Panmaiyar-teru, Madaippalli-teru, Vira- 
solap-perunteru, Rajavidyadharap-perunteru, Jayangondasolap- 
perunteru and Surasikhamanip-perunteru and in an eleventh 
street, called Saliyat-teru (weavers’ street), described as being 
inside the town ( ullalai ) . Other shepherds lived in specified 
bazars ( angadi ) outside the city limits, viz-, Tribhuvana-madevi- 
perangadi, Kongalar-angadi and Rajaraja-Brahma-maharajan- 
angadi; the rest of them lived in quarters outside the city limits 
in suburbs, which are listed as below: Abhimana-bhushana- 
terinda-velam, Uyyakkondan-terinda-tirumanjanattar-velam and 
Arumolideva-terinda-tirupparigalattar-velam. In respect of the 
shepherds who did not belong to the city, the names of the 
villages where each of them lived and the districts in which the 
villages were located are given. Thus, we get excellent material 
from this record to reconstruct the geographical divisions and the 
political and administrative arrangements obtaining during the 
days of Rajaraja I. 

In all 2,832 cows, 1,644 ewes and 30 she-buffaloes were 
entrusted to shepherds in, and in the neighbourhood of, Tanja- 
vur and in the various parts of the empire. 

Inscriptions nos. 64 and 95, which are again to be read 
together contain the details of the cattle given not only by the 
king himself but also by other donors and those which were 
represented by funds (in kasus and akkam) deposited in the temple 
treasury for the purchase of cattle. 

Among the localities mentioned in these two groups of in- 
scriptions, there are some which are common to both, but the 
following are found in this list (nos. 64 and 95) only: Uttama- 
siliyar-velam, Panchavan-Madeviyar-velam, Sivadasan-Solai alias 
Rajaraja - Brahma-maharajan-padaividu , Raudra - Mahakalat- 
tumadavilagam (named after the temple of Mahakala in the 
neighbourhood) and Brahmakuttam (also similarly named) — all 
these being inside the limits of the capital city— and Pandi-velam, 
which was outside the city limits. Similarly among the districts 
in the empire which find mention here besides those common 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 


83 


to both the groups of inscriptions are Kshatriya Sikhamani 
valanadu, Keralantaka valanadu, Vada Konadu and Arumoli- 
deva valanadu. 

Another interesting aspect of the inscriptions is the light 
they throw on the circumstances under which some of these 
donations came to be made, and on the range of people who 
made these grants, including the king’s officers, nobles of the 
Court, institutions and groups of men for burning lamps in the 
temple. 

INDIVIDUAL DONORS 

There are names of 14 military officers of Rajaraja I who 
would appear to have dreaded the prospect of incurring the 
displeasure of the king in the event of defeat in the operations at 
Koli (i.e. Uraiyur, the ancient Chola capital) and to have vowed 
to put up lamps in the temple in case their fair names were not 
besmirched. This is indicative of the high standard of efficiency 
of Rajaraja I’s army and the strict code of discipline and conduct 
enforced on the members of the armed forces. Among these 
14 are eight persons with the designations perundanam prefixed to 
their names, viz., Uttar angudaiyan Kon Vidividangan alias 
Villavan Muvendavelan, Marayan Rajarajan, Kandarachchan 
Pattalagan alias Nittavinoda Villuparaiyan, Alatturudaiyan Kalan 
Kannappan alias Rajakesari Muvendavelan, Logamarayan, Ra- 
jakesari Muvendavelan (same title as for no.4 above), Vayiri 
Sangaran and Kovan Tayilaiyan. 

Among the others were some brahmanas who were presumably 
royal arbitrators ( naduvirukkai seyda), two from Kamarasavalli 
chaturvedimangalam and one from Kadalangudi. 

There were other donors whose gifts were spontaneous efforts 
at acquiring merit. Among them are: 

Amudan Tevan alias Rajavidyadhara Vilupparaiyan Ulaga- 
landan, Senapati Kuravan Ulagalandan alias Rajaraja Maha- 
rajan, Adittan Suryan alias Tennavan Muvendavelan, the head- 
man of Poygai nadu, Irayiravan Pallavayan alias Mummadi- 
sola Posan of Araisur in Pambuni kurram, a sub-division of 
Nittavinoda valanadu and Karayil Eduttapadam, the headman 



84 MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 

of Rajakesarinallur and royal secretary. 

The name of a royal lady also finds mention as a donor. 
As we have already seen, Ilada Madevi, a queen of Rajaraja I, 
set up an image of Pasupatamurti in the temple : her gifts of 
cows and she-buffaloes for lamps to the image are recorded 
here. 

GROUP DONORS 

Groups or bodies who made donations are: 

Udaiyar Sri Rajarajadevar Mummadi-sola-terinda-parivarat- 
tar, Jananatha-terinda-parivarattar and Palavagai-palampadai- 
galilar. 

There were, in addition, a number of individual perundanams 
and merchants who made donations, viz- a vyaparin (merchant) 
Achchan Konurkkadan alias Rajavidyadhara Mayilatti, the 
Perundanam Rajaraja Vanakovaraiyan; Savur Paranjodi (a So- 
nakan, i.e., a Tonaka or Tavanaka, one of Greek, Roman or Arab 
origin — see SII, II, p. 460), Pudi Sattan, the headman of Nidur, 
the Perundanam Namban Kuttadi alias Jayangonda-sola-Brahma- 
maharajan, the Perundanam Tirumalai Vengadan, the headman 
of Vayalur, the Perundanam Kon Surri alias Arumoli Pallavaraiyan 
and the Perundanam Nittavinoda Maharajan. 

From the second group of records (i.e. nos. 64 and 95), we 
get a total of 1,296 cows and 5,280 ewes, donated for mainten- 
ance of lamps in the temple. According to these two groups of 
grants for supply of ghee, a total of 4,124 cows, 6,924 ewes and 
30 she-buffaloes were made over to a host of shepherds for 
supply of one ulakku of ghee daily per lamp. 

A calculation made of the lamps thus burnt daily brings the 
number to 158. The temple should have presented a fascinating 
sight with this huge array of lamps. 

“The enormous endowments in lands and gold made to the 
temple show that the king had one sole object in his life, viz-, 
to leave no want of the temple unsupplied. Almost all the booty 
he acquired in wars he gave away to the temple. Utensils re- 
quired for temple services; ornaments for the various images 
set up in the temple; villages for supplying the temple with the 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 


85 


requisite amount of paddy; money for purchasing the various 
articles for temple use not omitting even camphor, cardamom 
seeds, champaka buds and khas roots required for scenting the 
bathing water of the gods ; sheep, cows and buffaloes for supply- 
ing the ghee required for lamps; skilled musicians for singing 
the Devaram hymns; women for singing, dancing and decorating 
the temple; brahmana servants for doing the menial work in the 
temple ; accountants for writing the temple accounts, and temple 
treasurers, goldsmiths, carpenters, washermen, barbers, astro- 
logers and watchmen were provided on a most liberal scale. 
The systematic way in which the various endowments to the 
temple were made and the principles laid down for their proper 
administration bespeak a genius for organization which could 
not have been quite a characteristic feature of kings in general 
at the time” (SII, II, V, Preface pp. 11-12). 

The long list of beneficiaries of the gifts made to the temple, “a 
solid fabric of human greatness”, will dispel the erroneous belief 
that the temple benefited any one class or community. There 
was a sense of involvement of all members of society in the affairs 
of the temple. It was a co-operative effort of all, for the good 
of all, who believed in the temple as an institution for the pro- 
motion of the material, moral and spiritual welfare of the people. 

The Rajarajesvaram is a veritable art gallery rich in Archi- 
tecture, Sculpture, Painting, Natyam and other allied fine arts. 
It is further auto-biographical in character. We can reconstruct 
the history of this temple and the momentous events in the 
varying fortunes of its life from inscriptions engraved on its 
walls. 

The temple has another important feature of having four 
doorways leading to the sanctum; the main gateway is in the 
east, the other three on the three other cardinal points which 
were closed by the Nayak rulers in the seventeenth century. Such 
a temple is classified as the Sarvatobhadra type of temple. It is not 
correct to classify it as a madakkoyil as some scholars hold (See 
my Early Chola Art I, p. 22). 

According to Vasiu Sastras, vimanas with five or more talas are 
termed as Mukhya vimana and the Rajarajesvaram belongs to this 



86 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


superior class and this structural temple entirely built of stone 
marks the highest achievement of the Indian genius in the field 
of Architecture; Just like the Kailasa temple at Ellora (origi- 
nally named Krishnesvaram) sxcavated by the Rashtrakuta 
King Rrishna I (a.d. 756-772) stands unrivalled among the 
monolithic temples of India. 

In many ways, it is a grand and unique monument of an 
illustrious dynasty and is still a living institution. 

A rapid survey of the later history of the temple is given 
in the Appendix. 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 87 

Appendix on Rajarajesvaram : Later History 

CHOLA 


1 . Rajendradeva II ( a.d. 1053-1064) 

SII, II, 67:: fourth year: gift of a daily allowance of paddy to a troupe of actors to perform 
a drama Rajarajesvara-natakam during the Vaikasi festival. Order engraved two years later. 

2. Kulottunga I (a.d. 1070-1120) 

(a) SII, II, 58:: an incomplete inscription relating to a gift by Arumolinangaiyar . . .Maha- 
deviyar, the consort of Vira Rajendradeva. 

( b ) SII, II, 22 :: 35th year, 64th day: inscription of Tribhuvana Chakravartin Konerin- 
maikondan (Kulottunga I) : the foundation of an agaram called Samantanarayana chaturvedi- 
mangalam and a Vishnu temple of Vinnagar Emperuman, both named after the donor, a 
Pallava feudatory of the Chola king, in the region of the Vadavar river, round about Karuntat- 
tankudi. 

3. Vikrama Chola (a.d. 1118-35) 

SII, II, 68 :: fourth year: grant of an allowance to a person who measured paddy at the 
temple and in the villages belonging to it. 

4. Rajaraja III ( a . d . 1216-59) 

SII, II, 96 : : third year: registers a political compact by three chiefs of Chola-desa to be faithful 
to the overlord and to stand by one another in times of need. 

PANDYA 

5. Tribhuvana Chakravartin Konerinmaikondan 

SII, II, 61 :: second year, 334th day: the Pandya king built the Amman temple of Ulagamulu- 
dum Udaiya Nachchiyar (now called the Brihannayaki Amman shrine) and gifted a village of 
1 1 velis of land to it. 

6 . Tribhuvana Chakravartin Konerinmaikondan 

SII, II, 21 :: sixth year, seventh day: certain devadana iraiyili lands in six villages, which had 
been wrongly sold in the third and fourth years of this king, were restored to this temple. 

VIJAYANAGARA 


7. Devaraja II 

SII, II, 71 :: Saka 1368 (a.d. 1446-47) : gift of gold and silver ornaments to the main deity 
and Kshetrapala-devar by the emperor’s military officer, towards the success of his dig-vijqyam. 

8 . Tirumalai-deva 

SII, II, 23 :: Saka 1377 ( a . d . 1455-56) : royal order exempting a number of villages from taxes. 

TANJAVUR NAYAKS 

9. SII, II, 62 : the residents of Puliyur built a mandapa of Murti Amman, evidently named after the 
queen of Sevappa Nayaka. Here the Rajarajesvaram is called Periya Udaiya Hayanar temple for the 
first time (whence the modern name of Brihad-isvaram and Penwudaiyar-Koyil) . 

10. Achyutappa Nayak ( a . d . 1572-1614) 

Inscription of the Saka year 1490 ( a . d . 1578-79): order exempting goldsmiths from taxes. 

MARATHA 


1 1 . Raja Serfoji II 

Inscription of the Saka year 1723 ( a . d . 1801-02) : the king gave a gift of jewles to the main 



88 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


deity; he had a Marathi inscription engraved, giving the history of the Marathas from the days of 
the founder to his days ; he made elaborate repairs to the shrines of Ganapati of the sub-shrine 
{parivaralaya) , Subrahmanyar, Amman, Sabhapati, Dakshinamurti and Chandesvarar. He also 
built some new mandapas and repaired the flooring of the prakara, the madils, and the temple 
kitchen. 

MODERN DAYS 

12. The temple is being repaired by the Archaeological Survey of India. A statue of Rajaraja I 
was recendy installed outside the temple precincts by the Tamil Nadu Government. A permanent 
Ghola Art Exposition has been recendy opened in the temple precincts by the Archaeological 
Survey of India. 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA I*S TIME 89 

TIRUVAIYARU 


VADA (OR UTTARA) KAILASAM 2 

Apart from Rajaraja I’s own contributions to temple-building 
activity in South India, those made by his elder sister Kundavai 
Alvar and his senior queen Danti Sakti Vitanki alias Loga Maha- 
devi to the growth of Dravidian art are of considerable significance. 

The latter, i.e., the senior queen, apart from the numerous 
donations and grants that she made along with her royal consort, 
to the Rajarajesvaram temple at Tanjavur, also built temples 
on her own. 

Among them is the temple of Vada Kailasam at Tiruvaiyaru 
on the banks of the Kaveri, about 16.09 kms ( IO m il es ) from 
Tanjavur on the road to Kumbakonam. This temple is located 
on the northern side of the outer prakara of the Panchanadisvarar 
temple at Tiruvaiyaru and must have been built between the 
twenty-first and the twenty-fourth year of Rajaraja I. It is named 
Loga Mahadevi Isvaram, after the queen (ARE 219 and 222 of 
1894 ; SII, V, 521). 

The first reference to the existence of Vada Kailasam is 
found in an inscription of the twenty-first year of Rajaraja I 
(a. d. 1006) on the south wall of this temple (SII, V, 517 ; ARE 
218 of 1894), according to which the shepherd Aiyaran Valavan 
of the brahmadeya of Perumpuliyur received from the Tribhuvana 
Chandesvara-kanmis 192 sheep for supplying to the temple 27 
uris (measure) of ghee for burning two perpetual lamps at the 
temple of Loga Mahadevi Isvaram. 

Another gift was made in the same year, as seen from an 
inscription, on the base of the south wall of this temple, dated 
in the twenty-first year of Kovirajakesarivarumar alias Sri Raja- 
rajadevar (SII, V, 518 ; ARE 219 of 1894). It refers to the sale 
of land by the Tribhuvana Chandesvara-kanmis of Tiruvaiyaru 
in favour of the Mahadevar of Loga Mahadevi Isvaram which 
was built by Danti Sakti Vitanki alias Uloga Mahadeviyar. The 
land measured three veils, one mahani, \ kani and odd, valued at 
307 kalanjus and nine manjadis (the rate being 100 kalanjus to a veil) . 



90 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


A year later, in the twenty-second year of Rajaraja I, there 
is yet another inscription relating to a similar gift of 96 sheep 
for the maintenance of a perpetual lamp for the Mahadevar 
of Ulogamahadevisvaram at the devadana village of Tiruvaiyaru 
by Vimayan Vambavai, daughter of Salukki Vimayan devi 
Vanjayan Perrappai, presumably a talip-pen (SII, V, 516; ARE 
217 of 1894). 

An inscription of the twenty-fourth year of Rajaraja I, relat- 
ing to extensive gifts of ornaments and vessels made by Loga 
Mahadeviyar alias Udaiyar Sri Rajaraja Devar Nambirattiyar 
Danti Sakti Vitanki to the Loga Mahadevi Isvara Devar (the deity 
of the central shrine), and to the Uloga Vidi Vitanka Devar 
(the processional deity), is of immense interest to students of 
South Indian art as it gives a complete and exhaustive descrip- 
tion of jewellery of various types given to the deities mentioned 
above. 

There is another interesting inscription, of the twenty-ninth 
year of Rajaraja I, found on the east wall of the mandapa of this 
temple, mentioning the gifts made by Sri Vishnuvardhana Maha- 
devar alias Vimaladitya Devar of Vengi Nadu, the Eastern 
Ghalukyan prince and viceroy under the Cholas who married 
Kundavai, the daughter of Rajaraja I. They comprise eight pots 
of silver (velli-kalasam) , weighing 1,148 kalanjus, gifted to the 
Mahadevar of Ulogamahadevisvaram at the devadana village of 
Tiruvaiyaru (SII, V, 514 ; ARE 215 of 1894). 

In the fourth year of Rajendra I there is a reference to a gift 
of land by way of tattarakkani to the architect, who built the Ulo- 
gamadevisvaram, by name Sakkadi Samudaiyan alias Sembiyan 
Madevipperuntattan, by Danti Sakti Vitanki, the nampirattiyar 
(queen) of Periya Devar (Rajaraja I). Tiruvaiyaru is described 
as a devadana village in Poygai nadu, in Rajendrasimha valanadu 
(SII, V, 515 ; ARE 216 of 1884). 

While discussing this temple, it will be interesting to mention 
yet another inscription, belonging to the thirty-second year of 
Rajadhiraja I (a.d. 1018 — 1054) (SII, V, 520 ; ARE 221 of 
1884). This is important as it gives a complete narration of all 
the wars and victories won by this Chola ruler, thus enabling 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 9 1 

us to get considerable knowledge of the contemporary political 
picture as also an idea of the extent of the empire. There is, for 
instance, a reference to the Chola victory over the three Pandyas 
(in confirmation of the Sivakasi Plates), viz-, Manabharana, 
Vira Pandya and Sundara Pandya. The main purpose of the 
inscription however is to list out the jewels and vessels granted 
as donations to Loga Mahadevi Isvaram Udaiyar of Tiruvaiyaru. 
Yet another interesting aspect of this inscription is that it engraves 
two earlier gifts, one belonging to the thirty-first year of Rajadhi- 
raja I and the other an even earlier gift, relating to the twenty- 
seventh year of Rajendra I, as a combined fresh record. 

The temple faces east. It consists of the garbhagriha , the ardha- 
mandapa and the mukhamandapa with an antarala linking the latter 
two constituents. The garbhagriha is a square of side 3.35 ms 
(n ft.) inside and 5.97 ms (19 ft.) outside, the wall thickness 
being 1.45 ms (4! ft.) at the cardinal points and less by 0.15 ms 
(| ft.) at others. The outer surface of the garbhagriha is in two levels, 
the central portion having a width 2.59 ms (8-| ft.) on each face, 
projecting .15 m ft.) outwards from the rest of the surface 
in the two karna elements extending 1.68 ms (5^ ft.) in length 
on either side. The two side walls of the ardhamandapa are in 
continuation of the side walls of the garbhagriha ; the inner 
width of the ardhamandapa is the same as that of the garbhagriha, 
viz., 3-35 ms (11 ft.) while the inner length is twice the width, 

viz-, 6-7° ms ( 22 ft-)- 

The intervening wall is 0.84 m (2! ft.) thick with an opening 
0.91 m (3 ft.) wide connecting the two constituents. Externally 
the ardhamandapa projects 7.16 m (23 J ft.) towards the east and 
has a doorway of 1.06 ms (3! ft.) width. Further east is the mukha- 
mandapa , , a square structure 5.94 ms (iq| ft.) side inside and 
7.72 ms (25J ft.) externally, the wall having a thickness of 0.69 m 
(2J ft.). The antarala between the ardhamandapa and the mukhaman- 
dapa is 1.06 ms (3! ft.) in length. 

There are five devakoshtas adorned with crowning toranas over 
the niches. The images of Brahma and Dakshinamurti (mutilated) 
are the only ones among the original sculptures of this period 
still found in the devakoshtas of the main shrine and are of excellent 


92 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


workmanship. The other devakoshta sculptures have disappeared. 
(Pis 35 and 36) 

The temple is an eka-tala structure with a spherical stupi ; 
there are two dvarapalas on either side of the entrance to the 
ardhamandapa. 

TIRUVALANJULI 

3 KAPARDISVARAR TEMPLE 

BHAIRAVAR (KSHETRAPALAR) SHRINE 

Tiruvalanjuli, on the southern bank of the Arisil, is on the 
Tanjavur-Kumbakonam main road, 6.5 kms (4 miles) to the west 
of Kumbakonam in the Tanjavur district. 

The central shrine of Kapardisvarar would appear to be 
an old temple dating back to the days of the Early Cholas, as we 
find in an inscription of Rajaraja I, dated in his seventeenth 
year, mention of a grant made to the temple in the thirty-eighth 
year of Madiraikonda Parakesarivarman (ARE 620 of 1902). 
There is again another inscription of the same king (Rajaraja I) 
found on the south wall of the mandapa in front of the central 
shrine dated in the twenty-first year of the ruler, which confirms 
a grant of land made in the twelfth year of Parakesarivarman. 
The mandapa itself would seem to be a contribution of Rajaraja I. 

The Amman who is called in the inscription Vanduvalkulali 
Nachchiyar also has a shrine which should have come into 
existence before the eleventh year of Rajaraja III. 

In the outermost prakara of this temple, in the south-eastern 
corner, there is a shrine dedicated to Kshetrapala devar. This 
shrine of Bhairavar (Kshetrapala devar) was built of stone by 
Loga Mahadevi ( nam edippitta karrali). 

An inscription of the twenty-fifth regnal year of Rajaraja I, 
engraved on the north wall of this shrine, mentions the gift of 
gold and costly jewels presented to this deity, both by Kunda- 
vai Nangaiyar, the youngest daughter of Rajaraja I and the 
queen ( Mahadeviyar ) of Vimaladitta Devar, and by Nangaiyar 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA I*S TIME 


93 


Madevadigal, the middle daughter (naduvil penpillai ) , out of the gold 
presented by her father at the time of his abhishekam — “Rajaraja 
devarkku adi arula prasadam perra pon” (ARE 633 of 1902 ; SII, 
VIII, 234). From another inscription recorded on the south wall 
of the mandapa in front of the central shrine, we learn that a gift 
of land, made tax-free (iraiyili-nikki ) , as devadanam , was made 
by a royal order on the 258th day in the twenty-fourth regnal 
year of Rajaraja I, for various services to the two deities of Kshe- 
trapalar and Ganapatiyar set up in the temple of Tiruvalanjuli 
Alvar by Danti Sakti Vitanki alias Loga Mahadeviyar. 

On the north wall of this shrine is an inscription of the third 
year (221st day) of Rajendra Chola I, which states that he cere- 
monially passed through a hillock (mound) of gingily seeds 
(tila parvatam pukkaruli ) and on that auspicious occasion, gifted 
twelve gold flowers to be placed at the feet of the Lord ( sri-pada - 
pushpam) ; another gift of a gold flower is made to this Lord by 
his queen Valavan Madeviyar (ARE 633-B of 1902 ; SII, VIII, 
236). 

Similarly, we learn from another inscription on the same 
(north) wall of the Bhairavar shrine, of the third year of Rajendra 
Chola I (ARE 633-C of 1902 ; SII, VIII, 237), of a gift of two 
gold flowers to the Lord Kshetrapalar by Danti Sakti Vitanki 
out of the gold used by her for the Hiranyagarbha ceremony per- 
formed by her while her husband performed the Tulabhara cere- 
mony at Tiruvisalur in the twenty-ninth regnal year of Rajaraja I 
(PI 186). 

The shrine faces west and, unlike the usual run of shrines for 
Bhairavar, which are generally located in the north-east corner 
of the prakara, the Kshetrapalar shrine occupies the south-eastern 
portion of the third prakara space. The shrine is now cordoned 
off from the main prakara by a brick wall ; but we may presume 
that, as it originally stood, it had no wall of enclosure of its own. 
The garbhagriha, the ardhamandapa and the mukhamandapa con- 
stitute the shrine. The near-square garbhagriha measures 4.64 ms 
across the axis and 4.44 ms along it, while the cella inside measures 
2.60 ms, by 2.56 ms also almost a square. The finely-chiselled 
image of Kshetrapalar, measuring 1 .65 ms. in height and .85 m 



94 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


across the chest stands on a pitham. It is carved out of fine-grained 
light blue schist and, in spite of the dilapidated structure enshrin- 
ing it, the icon itself is in a fine state of preservation. 

The srivimana is eka-tala. In the outer wall surface of the adi 
bhumi, there are three devakoshtas, divided into a central bhadra 
and two flanking karna elements. The niches in the east and north 
are empty while the southern niche has the original, beautiful 
Ganapati. In the griva niches, we have Vishnu in the west and 
Bhairavar in the east, and the other two niches are empty. There 
are two loose sculptures of Bhairavar in the vicinity and they 
perhaps belong to the griva koshtas (Pis 37 and38). The griva and 
the sikhara are in brick and mortar and circular in shape. The 
ardhamandapa projects 4.25 ms forward, with the same width 
as the garbhagriha. The north wall which alone remains of this 
hall has two shallow decorative niches on its outer face without 
any icons. There was a bigger mukhamandapa ahead of the ardha- 
mandapa ; but of it, only the plinth remains, measuring a rectangle 
of 6.95 ms across and 6.85 ms along the axis, being almost a 
square again. This seems to be an independent Bhairavar 
temple. 

Of the other loose sculptures in the vicinity is one of Jyeshtha 
devi, which is noteworthy. 

ALAGADRIPUTTUR 

4 SVARNAPURISVARAR TEMPLE 

Alagadriputtur, or Alagar-Tirupputtur, as it is referred to 
in inscriptions, lies on the southern bank of the river Arisil (Arasa- 
laru), 7.25 kms (4I miles) south-east of Kumbakonam. On account 
of its location, it was also known as Arisir-karai-puttur. Tradition 
has it that Pugal-tunai-nayanar, one of the 63 Saiva saints, attained 
salvation at Tirunaraiyur Siddhisvaram not far from here. 

The Svarnapurisvarar temple has ancient associations and 
is mentioned with reference to Kochchenganan of the Sangam 
Age, who is said to have built 70 madakkoyils. 

From a multilated record of the seventh year of Rajaraja I 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 95 

(a.d. 992) found on the north wall of the central shrine (ARE 
283 of 1908), we come to know that one Pullai Sattan Karivelar 
Gandaradittan alias Mummadi-soliyavaraiyar built the central 
shrine of stone and made gifts of land for offerings to the temple. 
The Lord of this temple is referred to in this record as “ Tiru 
puttur Udaiya Paramasvamin” A record of his twenty-second year 
found on the east wall of the temple (ARE 287 of 1908) refers to a 
gift of land for a lamp to the temple of Tirupputtur Mahadevar 
in Paradayakudi, a brahmadeya in Tirunaraiyur nadu, a sub- 
division of Kshatriyasikhamani valanadu. From a twenty-eighth 
year record of the same ruler (ARE 284 of 1908), we get to 
know of a gift of land for a lamp (Pis 39-41). 

A shrine for Surya Devar was constructed in the campus of 
the temple by one Pattalakan Adittan, a native of Kallur in 
Mel-vemba nadu, a sub-division of Pandi Nadu alias Rajaraja 
mandalam and a gift of land was made for offerings to this 
shrine (ARE 289 of 1908), in the fourth year of Rajendra I. In 
this record there is mention of Kurugur mat ham also. 

This temple was reconstructed in stone during the days of 
Rajaraja I. It was unfortunately dismantled and renovated during 
the early years of this century, to which fact a pathetic reference 
is made in the Annual Report on Epigraphy for 1908, which I 
quote below : 

One of the trustees of the Svarnapurisvarar temple 
at Alagapputtur in the Kumbakonam taluk wrote to 
me that the temple was being repaired. The report was 
subsequently confirmed by a letter from the Collector of 
Tanjore. When I visited the village, the work of demolition 
had reached an advanced stage. But the lower portion of 
the temple remained intact and all the inscriptions found 
on it were copied. 

It is a pity that such unchannelled religious enthusiasm has 
often been the cause of considerable loss of precious inscriptional 
and sculptural material and the destruction of old monuments. 
During my recent tour I noticed to my horror the great violence 
and harm done to the fine temple at Velvidai Isvaram at Tiruk- 
kuruhavur near Sirkali, whose inscribed walls, devakoshtas and 



9 6 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


koskta pancharas are now irretrievably lost. I am, however, very 
happy that the old features of the ancient temple with rich 
associations will be preserved for posterity at least in the illustrations 
of this temple in my book, Early Chola Temples (a.d. 907 — 985) 
on pp. 186-7 (Pis 215-223). 

TIRUCHCHENGATTANGUDI 

5 SRI UTTARAPATISVARAR TEMPLE 

i) Ganapatisvarar shrine 

ii) Uttarapatisvarar shrine 

iii) Vatapi-Ganapati shrine 

iv) Chulikambal (Amman) shrine 

Tiruchchengattangudi lies to the south of the Mudikondan 
river, a branch of the Kaveri, and about 8 kms (5 miles) south-east 
of the Nannilam railway station. Close to it are the Saivite centre 
of Tiruppugalur*, where Appar attained beatitude, and the 
Vaishnavite centre of Tirukkannapuram. 

According to legends, this was the place where Ganapati 
destroyed the demon Gajamukhasuran ; as a result, the place 
became covered with the blood of the asura. Hence it came to 
be called Sengadu, the red-forest. As expiation for having killed 
the asura, Ganapati is said to have done penance. So the central 
shrine was named Ganapatisvaram. 

Appar and Sambandar have glorified the presiding deity of 
this temple. In his hymn, Sambandar calls the temple Sirutton- 
dar-Ganapatisvaram, i.e., the abode of Isvara worshipped by 
Ganapati, who gave grace to Siruttondar. The story of Siruttondar 
is found in detail in Sekkilar’s Periyapuranam. His original name 
was Paranjoti.He served as a general of Narasimhavarman I, 
the Pallava king of Kanchi, and took part in the destruction of 
Vatapi (modern Badami now in the Karnataka state), the then 


‘Tiruppugalur lies six kms, east of Nannilam railway station on the Nannilam-Nagapattinam 
high way, where we cross the Mudikondan to reach Tirukkannapuram, 1.5. kms south of 
Tiruppugalur. Tiruchchengattangudi is nearly 2 kms east of Tirukkannapuram and is reached 
by a metal road. 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA I’s TIME 


97 


capital of the Western Chalukya king Pulakesin II. With the 
king’s permission, he retired from military service and devoted 
himself to a spiritual life. 

As an ardent and humble devotee — as the name implies — of 
the Lord of Ganapatisvaram, Siruttondar interested himself 
in feeding pilgrims. One day, Siva appeared before him in the 
guise of Bhairavar; and in order to test the steadfastness of his 
devotion to the Lord, he demanded human flesh for his meal. 
The cooked flesh of Siruttondar’s son Siralar was offered to 
the guest. When the Lord witnessed this supreme sacrifice, He 
revealed Himself before Siruttondar, and gave him, his wife 
Tiruvenkattu nangai and their son Siralar divine grace. On the 
northern wall of Ganapatisvaram, there is a sculpture-panel 
of this scene, depicting their journey to Kailasa, preceded by 
Siva and Uma riding the Bull-mount, followed by Siruttondar, 
Tiruvenkattu nangai, Siralar and the maid servant Santana 
Nangai, constituting the group. 

Siruttondar and Sambandar were contemporaries. During 
the course of his pilgrimage, Sambandar worshipped the Lord 
of Nagaik-karonam at Nagapattinam and then reached Kil- 
velur. Siruttondar met Sambandar there and invited him to 
Tiruchchengattangudi. Sambandar stayed for a few days as Sir- 
uttondar’s guest. After worshipping the Lord of Ganapatisvaram, 
he sang two hymns on Him. It was at this time that Sambandar 
also visited Tirumarugal and performed the miracle of restoring 
to life a newly married merchant, bitten by a snake. After this 
visit, Sambandar has given us a hymn linking the two temples 
of Tirumarugal and Tiruchchengattangudi. Thereafter Samban- 
dar went to Tiruppugalur. 

The main deity of Ganapatisvarar is also called by various 
other names, such as Mandarapurisvarar, Saktipurisar, Brahma- 
purisar, Indrapurisar, Atti-vananathar (the Lord of the Atti 
tree, the sthalavriksha ) , Bhaskarapurisar and Samudrapurisar. 

There are two places with historical associations outside the 
temple premises. In the south-west corner of the south street, 
there is a tank called Surya-pushkarani. To the west, there is 
the Siruttondar -tiru-matham, the place traditionally associated 



98 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


with the original home of Siruttondar. It is here that the annual 
Sittirai-Bharani festival is celebrated. 

Next to it is the Siruttonda-Nayanar-firu/na/igai now built 
into a shrine. In this, there are sculptures of Uttarapatiyar (Bhai- 
ravar) who hailed from the north with those of Siruttondar and his 
wife Tiruvengattu-nangai on one side and Ayyadigal Kadavar- 
kon on the other. The existence of the latter sculpture indicates 
the association of this Tamil saint with the local Siva temple, 
and its existence even as early as the latter half of the sixth cen- 
tury a.d. Kadavarkon belongs to the pre-Sambandar period. 

Ganapatisvaram 

The main shrine — which is also the oldest in the temple 
complex at Tiruchchengattangudi — is Ganapatisvaram. It is 
sanctified by the hymns of Sambandar and Appar (seventh cen- 
tury a.d.) It should have been a structure of brick (in their 
days), rebuilt of stone in the days of Aditya I (ninth century a.d.). 
The sculptures of Brahma and especially of Ardhanarisvarar 
now lodged in the southern verandah of the tiruch-churru-maligai 
might have belonged to the structure of Aditya l’s age. 

The present structure of Ganapatisvaram seems assignable 
to the period of Rajaraja I. On the walls of this temple, there 
are seven inscriptions all of which belong to the Middle Chola 
period. Of these, three are of the reign of Rajaraja I. While 
Sambandar calls the deity Siruttondan Ganapatisvarattan of 
Tiruchchengattangudi, inscriptions of Rajaraja I call the Lord 
Siraladevar of Tiruchchengattangudi. 

An inscription of Rajaraja I’s third year (ARE 56 of 1913) 
mentions a gift of land for two lamps to Siraladevar by Vellalan 
Ulangan Sirriyan alias Tappilla Muvendavelan. There are two 
inscriptions of his nineteenth year (ARE 57 and 59 of 1913). 
One refers to a gift of land for feeding the devotees attending 
the festival of Sittirai-Tiruvadirai when Siraladevar was taken 
in procession to the mandapa ofSiruttonda-nambi. (Does “ mandapa ” 
here refer to the Siruttondar -tirumaligai in the south street ? ). 
The other inscription also mentions a gift of land by two residents 
of Marugal for the celebration of the festival of Siruttondar- 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 


99 


nambi. Incidentally, mention is made of the revenue survey 
carried out in the seventeenth year of Rajaraja I. 

There are three inscriptions of Parakesarivarman which do 
not contain sufficient details to enable us to assign them definitely 
to Rajendra I. Though the Government Epigraphist assigns the 
inscription of the third year of Parakesarivarman to Rajendra I 
(ARE 58 of 1913), the identification cannot be sustained, as 
the prefix Tribhuvana-chakravartin applies only to Later Chola 
kings. In this inscription, the presiding deity is called Ganapatis- 
varam-udaiyar ; while in the other two of the fifth and eleventh 
years (ARE 60 and 62 of 1913), the Lord is called Param- 
esvarar of Tiruchchengattangudi. 

On the west wall of the central shrine, there is an inscription 
of the 32nd year of Rajadhiraja I (ARE 58 of 1913) which men- 
tions a gift of land, made tax-free, to Ganapatisvaram Udaiya 
Mahadevar by the sabha of Tirukkannapuram, a brahmadeya in 
Marugal nadu ; and the sabha is said to have met in the temple 
of Piramisvaram-udaiya-Mahadevar in the village. 

The devakoshta sculptures on the walls of this shrine are Gana- 
pati, Dakshinamurti, Lingodbhavar and Brahma. 

Among the parivara shrines may be mentioned those of Vatapi- 
Ganapati in the south-west corner of the first prakara, of Subrah- 
manyar and Lakshmi (displacing Jyeshta) both of them in the 
western varandah, of Bhairavar in the eastern verandah and of 
Chandesvarar north of the main shrine. 

The present Ganapatisvaram could be assigned to the age 
of Rajaraja I. 

Uttarapatisvaram 

This shrine is parallel to, and south of, Ganapatisvaram. 
It is dedicated to Uttarapati — the mendicant Siva in the form 
of Bhairavar who appeared before Siruttondar to put his devotion 
to test. The earliest epigraphical reference to this deity is found 
in an inscription of the forty-fifth year of Tribhuvana-chakravartin 
Kulottunga Chola Deva (ARE 64 of 1913) found on the walls 
of the mandapa in front of these two shrines. The Government 
Epigraphist assigns this inscription wrongly, in my opinion, to 



100 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


Kulottunga III. The high regnal year and the absence of any 
of the historical introductions of the inscriptions of Kulottunga III 
lead us to assign this inscription to Kulottunga I (a.d. 1115). 
So, it seems to us that the Uttarapatisavaram shrine and the 
mandapa in front of both the shrines should be assigned to the 
period of Kulottunga I. It may be added that the walls of this 
mandapa contain inscriptions only of the Later Cholas.* 

On the walls of the Uttarapatisvaram, there are only two 
Vijayanagara inscriptions, of the fourteenth and fifteenth centu- 
ries (ARE 51 and 52 of 1913). The first belongs to the reign of 
Vira Viruppanna Udaiyar, son of Ariyaraya (Harihara II) and 
is dated Saka 1306 (a.d. 1384). It records a gift of land to both 
the shrines of Ganapatisvaram Udaiyar and Uttarapati Navaka 


* Later Chala inscriptions'. All the inscriptions on the walls of the mandapa in front of the two 
main shrines belong to the Later Chola period. We have already discussed the significance 
of the inscription of the forty-fifth year of Kulottunga I. 

There are three inscriptions of Kulottunga III. One of his tenth year, 123rd day records a 
gift of land to the temple-architect, Rajendra Chola Achariyan. 

Another of his eleventh year, 175th day registers that a document connected with the temple 
of Tiruvirama-nandisvaram [see the next section on Tiruviramesvaram or (as it is presently 
called) Ramanandisvaram] at Tirukkannapuram was engraved on the walls of the temple at 
Tiruchchengattangudi “as the former was evidently not constructed of stone. . . ” The record 
refers to the fifth and tenth years of Periyadevar Kulottunga Chola devar in whose time the 
Tirukkannapuram temple came into existence (ARE 65 of 1913). 

Two errors have crept in about this inscription. The record clearly states that the old stone 
walls of the Tirukkannapuram temple had become worn out (the text in the inscription is “ivai- 
palagai jirnittu irakshai arida irukkaiyil”) and could not stand the engraving of the inscription. 
So it is wrong to hold that the temple had not been built of stone till then. Secondly, the name of 
the temple is recorded as “Tiruviramanandisvaram”. The deity of this temple was formerly 
worshipped by Rama. So its name is Tiruviramesvaram (Tiru-Iramesvaram = Tiruvirames- 
varam). Sambandar’s Devaram hymn calls the place “Tiruramanadichcharam”. But the 
inscription calls the temple “Tiruviramanandisuaram”. Anyhow, the later name has per- 
sisted and the temple has come to be called now “Tiruviramanandisvaram”. This temple was 
rebuilt of stone in the days of Kulottunga III. 

An inscription of his eighteenth year, 330th day mentions a gift of land by purchase for laying 
out a road to carry in procession Siralappillaiyar from the mandapa of Siruttonda devar (perhaps 
the one in the south street) at Tiruchchengattangudi to Tiru-Marugal (ARE 66 of 1913). 

Another of the same year (ARE 67 of 1913) refers to the remission of certain taxes in favour 
of the temple for maintaining the worship of Siralapillaiyar. 

An inscription of the twenty-fourth year of Rajaraja III (A.D.1240) provides for offerings to 
Uttarapati Nayaka during the Sittirai-Bharani festival. 

On the walls of the Vatapi Ganapati shrine there is an inscription of the 22nd year, 130th 
day of Kulottunga III which relates to the acquisition of lands for constructing the third prakara 
of the temple with a street around it. 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 


IOI 


at Tiruchchengattangudi by one Somaya Dannayakar (Danda- 
nayakar) . The other belongs to the reign of Vira Bhupatiraya 
Udaiyar dated Saka 1332 (a.d. 1410). It records the gift of a 
lamp to the temple of Uttarapati Nayaka by a native of Palaiya- 
nur in Tondaimandalam. 

The earliest epigraphical evidence regarding the Uttara- 
patisvaram is found in an inscription of the forty-fifth year of 
Kulottunga I (a.d. 1 1 1 5 ) and we do not know how much earlier 
it existed. And the present shrine bears only inscriptions of the 
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, as we have just seen. 

The sthala-vriksha is the Atti tree and this is found within the 
mandapa in front of the Uttarapati shrine. 

The shrine of Siruttondar is located in the south-east corner 
within this enclosure. 

The two shrines with the mandapa in front are surrounded by 
a prakara with a tiruch-churru-maligai. At the eastern end of the 
southern wing of the tiruch-churru-maligai we have sculptures of 
the 63 Nayanmars. West of these are sculptures of Brahma and 
Ardhanarisvarar (probably of the earlier Ganapatisvaram) , the 
four Tamil saints and Sankha and Padma Nidhis. 

In a mandapa in the centre of the northern verandah, there 
are fine stone sculptures of what are locally called the Nava- 
Tandava-murtis : Bhujanga-Lalita-murti, Gaja-samhara-murti, Urdhva- 
Tandava-murti, Kala-samhara-murti, Kankala-murti, Bhikshatanamurti, 
Tripur a-Samhara-murti and Bhairava-murti (Pis 51-53) . 

In the north-east corner of this verandah, we have a fine 
set of bronzes of Nataraja and Sivakami. 

Stone sculptures of Bhairavar and Surya adorn the eastern 
verandah north of the main gateway (gopuram) of the first prakara. 
This gopuram is three-storeyed. 

In the second prakara, we have the Alankara mandapa and 
the Chulikambal (Amman) shrine of the Later Chola age. 

It has to be observed that the original gateway in the east in 
this prakara is closed and a new one built to the north of it (not 
on the same axis as the main shrine) . The temple at Tiruchchen- 
gattangudi seems to have undergone alterations during every 
phase — Early, Middle and Later — of the Chola period. 



102 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


Siruttondar, Tiruvenkattu-Nangai and Sirala have exercised 
a profound influence and fascination over the minds and hearts 
of kings, nobles and the common people. Adittan Suryan installed 
metallic images of these three, in the third year of Rajendra I, in 
the Rajarajesvaram temple at Tanjavur (SII, II, p. 172). 

Tiruchchengattangudi is one of the most celebrated temples 
of Tamil Nadu (Pis 42-53). 

TIRUVIRAMESVARAM 

6 RAMANATHESVARAR TEMPLE 

(TIRU-RAMANADICHCHARAM) 

Tiruviramesvaram* is a small village reached through 
Tiruppugalur, which is at a distance of six kilometres to the east 
of Nannilam. At Tiruppugalur, the river Mudikondan is crossed 
and this village is about one and a half kilometres to the west. 
Kannapuram, where there is a Vishnu temple and to which 
references have been made in dealing with Tiruchchengattangudi, 
is close by, only a kilometre and a half to the east. Thus Tiru- 
viramesvaram, Tiruppugalur, Kannapuram and Tiruchchengat- 
tangudi lie close to one another, and, in the days of the Cholas, 
received considerable attention from royalty. 

The Devaram refers to this as the temple of Tiru-Ramanadich- 
charam, and its presiding deity as Ramanathar. In the records 
found in the temple, the place receives the surname of Madana- 
manjari-chaturvedimangalam. When dealing with the Rajarajes- 
varam temple (SII, II, p. 320), we found that the village of 
Nedumanal, like Tiruviramesvaram, was situated in Nenmali nadu, 
district of Arumolideva valanadu, and was called Madanamanjari- 
chaturvedimangalam ; from one of the inscriptions found in this 

*See para 4 of the footnote on Later Chola Inscriptions, of Tiruchchengattangudi p 99. 

The village is locally called “Ramanandisvaram” another form of the name “Tiruvi- 
ramesvaram”: and in the Devaram it is referred to as “Ramanatich-charam.” In the 
inscriptions of Rajaraja I, the village is known as “Madanamanjari-chaturvedimangalam”, 
the alternate name being “Nedumanal”. It is said to be in Nenmali nadu in Arumolideva 
valanadu. The temple of Ramanathesvarar located in this village was among the numerous 
temples which furnished their own share of talippendir to the temple of Rajarajesvaram. 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA I’s TIME 103 

temple (ARE 152 of 1911), we get to know that the temple of 
Tiruviramesvaram Udaiyar was located in Nedumanal alias 
Madanamanjari-chaturvedimangalam. So it is evident that the 
modern Tiruviramesvaram is the same as Nedumanal mentioned 
in the Tanjavur Rajarajesvaram inscription. Amritavalli-chatur- 
vedimangalam which is referred to in one of the inscriptions in 
this temple (ARE 14 1 of 1 9 1 1 ) also figures in the Tanjavur 
inscription referred to above, as one of the places in Avur kurram 
which supplied brahmacharins as temple-servants to the Rajarajes- 
varar temple. 

On the walls of the central shrine, there are a number of 
inscriptions of Rajaraja I, one of Rajendra I, one of Rajadhi- 
raja I and also one of an un-identified Rajakesarivarman. The 
earliest of them all are two inscriptions dated in the twelfth year 
of Rajaraja I (ARE 119 and 120 of 1901) found on the north 
wall; one other relates to a gift of money for two lamps to the 
temple of Tiruviramesvaram Udaiya Mahadevar at Madana- 
manjari-chaturvedimangalam, a brahmadeyam, in Nenmali nadu 
which was a sub-division of Arumolideva valanadu (ARE 1 2 1 of 
1 9 1 1 ) . The only inscription of the period of Rajendra I (ARE 
122 of 1 9 1 x ) is dated in his third year and relates to a gift of 
money for four lamps. The inscription of his son Rajadhiraja I is 
dated in his twenty-ninth year and mentions a gift of a lamp to 
the temple by a brahmana of Tiruviramesvaram which is described 
as being in Madanamanjari-chaturvedimangalam (ARE 118 of 
1911). 

Besides these inscriptions on the walls of the central shrine, 
there are a large number of them on the walls of the mandapa, 
covering the periods of these three rulers; besides, there are also 
inscriptions relating to the reigns of some of the Later Chola 
rulers like Vikrama Chola, Rajaraja II (?) and Kulottunga III. 
An eighth year record of Rajaraja I mentions a gift of land for 
a lamp to the shrine of Brahmisvarar and for offerings to the 
shrine of Tribhuvana Sundarar, both of which were perhaps 
situated in the same temple, by the cavalier ( kudiraikarar ) Sobha- 
nayyan (ARE 146 of 1 9 1 1 ) . There is another record of the same 
year referring to a gift of money for a lamp by the wife of one of 



104 MIDDLE CHULA TEMPLES 

the ganattars “who managed the affairs of the village” (ARE 148 
of 1911)- A tenth year record deals with a gift of money for a 
lamp by a brahmana lady of Amritavalli chaturvedimangalam, 
a brahmadeyam in Avur kurram referred to earlier (ARE 14 1 of 
ign). The same cavalry officer also makes a gift of land for a 
lamp to this temple in a record of the eleventh year. The 
inscriptions of the period of Rajaraja I range from his seventh to 
his thirteenth years only. There are a number of Rajendra I’s 
inscriptions on the walls of the mandapa ranging from his third 
regnal year to the fourteenth, mostly relating to gifts of land for 
lamps; one record mentions the provision made for the feeding 
of Sivayogins in the temple (ARE 124 of 191 1), another registers 
the distribution of stores for oblations in the temple as settled 
by a certain Tirumanjana Pittar (ARE 129 of 1911). There is a 
record, whose year is lost, mentioning a gift of money for a lamp 
by a merchant who was living in the street named Virasolap- 
perunteru in the city of Tanjavur (ARE 128 of 191 1). The only 
record on the walls of the mandapa, relating to Rajadhiraja I, 
is dated in his thirty-fifth year and contains only a portion of the 
historical introduction. 

From a record in modern characters on a stone set up in a 
field in the village, we get to know of a gift of land at Tannir- 
kunnamangalam to the God Ramanathasvamin and the Goddess 
Tirumangai Nayaki of the temple of Tiruviramesvaram by a 
certain Archchandira Sayebu (ARE 155 of 1911). The name 
Ramanathasvamin of the deity is met with in this record for the 
first time. Otherwise, in the Chola period the deity went under 
the name of Tiruviramesvaram Udaiya Mahadevar. 

The central shrine seems to be assignable to the age of Raja- 
raja I, but its extensions should belong to the Later Chola age. 

TIRUKKADAIYUR 

7 AMRITAGHATESVARAR TEMPLE 

Tirukkadavur or Kadaiyur is about 21 kilometres east of 
Mayuram in the Tanjavur district, on the road to Tarangambadi 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME I05 

on the seacoast, and is one of the eight virasthanams (places where 
Siva is said to have performed feats of valour in Tamil Nadu 
[Early Chola Temples , pp. 85 and 86). Appar, Sambandar and Sun- 
darar have sung the glory of this Lord. The main deity is called 
Amritaghatesvarar, and the Amman, Abhirami Ammai. 

On the south wall of the central shrine of this temple, there 
is an inscription of the thirteenth year of Rajaraja I which men- 
tions the purchase of land belonging to the temple of Tiru- 
virattanam udaiya Paramasvamin at the instance of the Assembly 
(. sabha ) of Kadavur in Ambar nadu in Uyyakkondan valanadu, 
by a certain Udaya Chandiran Amudakan alias Kalakala Mayilat- 
ti, a merchant residing in the village who got it made rent-free 
by the assembly with the stipulation that “he should pay a fixed 
quantity of paddy to the temple every year for the expenses of 
worship and for maintaining three lamps before certain images.” 
(ARE 242 of 1925). On the same wall, we have an inscription of 
the twenty-fourth year of Rajendra Chola I which seems to 
record the promise of regular delivery of paddy for the daily 
offerings throughout the year and for the requirements of eight 
days of the festival, celebrated in the month of Chittirai, in the 
temple of Kalakala Devar out of the land donated by Rajaraja 
Muvendavelan to the temple in the eighteenth year of the king. 
A third record found on the north and east walls of the main 
shrine relates to the thirty-sixth year of Rajakesari alias Vijaya 
Rajendra, viz., Rajadhirajal (a.d. 1054). It records a gift of some 
lands as salabhoga after bringing them under cultivation, by a 
certain Pichchan Adittan alias Vijaya Rajendra Muvendavelan 
of Komakkudi, to feed 17 persons in the “ Rajadhirajan salai” 
and to meet the expenses of worship in the temple of Kalakala 
Devar (ARE 244 of 1925). The fourth inscription found on the 
main walls of the garbhagriha of this shrine relates to the twenty- 
seventh year of Kulottunga I and mentions that the mahasabhai 
of Tirukkadavur in Ambar nadu in Rajanarayana valanadu 
met in the Tiruchchirrambala velaikkaran tiru ?nandapam and sold 
if veils of land, which had been lying fallow for 50 years without 
any claimants, as a mathappuram to a certain Vanavarajar of 
Korramangalam for feeding daily, in the Markandeyan matham, 



IOG MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 

ten Sivayogins well-versed in the Vedas, for the welfare of the king. 

Of these four inscriptions found on the main walls of the 
temple, the earliest relates to the thirteenth year of Rajaraja I; 
this together with the fact that the deity is called Kalakala Devar, 
the donor figuring in that record also being of the same name, 
would seem to indicate that the temple was set up by the merchant 
Udava Chandiran Amudakkan alias Kalakala, as also certain 
images in the shrine. This temple must therefore have been 
reconstructed before the thirteenth year of Rajaraja I (a.d. 998). 

We have a number of records of the Later Cholas on the walls 
of the prakara; one of them, of Rajaraja deva (II) belonging to 
his 14th year, is interesting and mentions that the mahasabha of 
Tirukkadavur in Akkur nadu assembled in the Kulottungasolan 
tiru venduttukkati (hall) in the temple of Kalakala Devar to confis- 
cate to the temple the property of those mahesvaras who, contrary 
to their tenets, as the custodians of the Siva temple and its obser- 
vances, “intermingled freely with the Vaishnavas and wore or 
sold the lotuses (grown for the god)”. 

While dealing with the interest evinced by the Ghola emperors 
in the performing arts of drama, dance and also music, we had 
mentioned under Rajarajesvaram the innumerable grants and 
facilities provided by them to musicians, dancers and dance- 
masters. We have a fine example here of the same in the period of 
Kulottunga III. In a record of his twenty-third year, royal 
sanction was accorded to the confirmation of the appointment 
of a certain Parasivan Ponnan alias Kalavinoda Nritta-Peraraiyan 
as nattuva nilai (dance master and musician) in the temple, toge- 
ther with the remuneration for him in kind (paddy) attached to 
the appointment, at the request of Viranattup-pallavaraiyan, 
a favourite poet of the king. 

The temple faces west. There is a separate shrine for Kalasam- 
hara-murti. It houses a bronze image with four arms, issuing 
out of the Linga to save His bhakta Markkandeya from Yama’s 
clutches (“ Markkandarkkaha aiiru kalanai udaippar polum kadavur 
virattanarey ” — Appar Devaram) (Pis 54 to 57). 

There are in this temple a set of fine stone sculptures which 
should belong to the Early Chola period. 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA 1’s TIME 107 

TIRUPPUGALUR 

KONAPIRAN (SRI PUGALUR MAHADEVAR) TEMPLE 8 

We have briefly dealt with this temple under our Historical 
survey in Early Chola Temples (pp. 246 and 247). The earliest 
inscription found in this temple dates back to Uttama Chola 
(ARE 66 of 1927-28); but the temple received considerable 
attention at the hands of the Middle Chola rulers and their 
consorts and nobles. 

One of the earliest records of Rajaraja I here dates to his 
sixteenth year and mentions that Nakkan Tillai-y-alagiyar alias 
Panchavan Mahadevivar, queen of Rajaraja I, made a gift of 
some tax-free land for conducting a festival and for providing 
offerings to the God every month on the day of Sadaiyam, her 
husband’s as well as her own natal star. She also made a gift of 
some ornaments to this temple (ARE 47 of 1927-28). In his 
twenty-first year, a remission of taxes by the assembly of Karodu- 
cheri, a brahmadeyam in Panaiyur nadu, was effected on the lands 
granted to the temple by the king and the queen Panchavan 
Madeviyar, for conducting special worship to the god every 
month on the day of their natal star (ARE 54 of 1927-28). 
Again, in his twenty-first year, a gift of paddy and money is made 
by one Angikumara Kramavittan alias Porkoyil Chandesvarayogi 
of Kundur for offerings to the image of Tirunavukkaraiya devar 
(ARE 68 of I927-28). In his twenty-third year, one Selvan 
Achchan, a member of Satturubhayankara-terinda-velam of the 
queen Panchavan Madeviyar made a gift of nine gold flowers to 
the god Konapperumal (ARE 62 of 1927-28). In his twenty- 
seventh year, a brahmana lady by name Ganapati Ponnalvi alias 
Solai gave money to the brahmanas of Pugalur for burning a 
perpetual lamp before the deity (ARE 69 of 1927-28). The 
southern entrance into the shrine bears an inscription giving the 
name of the entrance as Irasarasan tiruvasal (ARE 71 of 1927- 
28), presumably referring to Rajaraja I. 

In the fifth year of Rajendra I, certain lands belonging to the 
temple were exempted from taxes by the assembly of Bhuloka- 



io8 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


manikka-chaturvedimangalam and provision was made for 
offerings and worship to God Sri Kamesvaram Udaiyar and for 
the recitation of the Vedas (ARE 52 of 1927-28). 

From a tenth year record here of Rajendra I, we get to know 
that the assembly of Bhuloka-chaturvedimangalam, a brahma- 
deyam in Panaiyur nadu in Kshatriyasikhamani valanadu received 
150 kasus from the temple and remitted the taxes on a piece of 
land belonging to the god Sri Pugalur Mahadevar (ARE 44 of 
1927-28). In the twenty-seventh year of Rajadhiraja I, a brah 
mana lady by name Pichchan Sirudaikalal of Saliamangalam in 
Inga nadu made a gift of money for a festival with offerings to 
the image of the Consort of God Navalingesvarar in the temple, 
on the day of Sadaiyam. It provided for the services of eight men 
to participate in the ashta-mangalam ceremony during the bathing 
of the deity (mirror, water-pot, flag, fly-whisk, elephant goad, 
drum, lamp and a pair of fish (?) constituting the “eight signs 
of prosperity”, ARE 49 of 1927-28). From a record of the 32nd 
year, we learn of the setting up of a deity called Sivapurattu devar 
for providing offerings for whom a gift of land free of taxes was 
made by a certain lady (ARE 48 of 1927-28). 

There is a fourth year record of Rajendra II on two lion 
pillars at the north entrance in the first prakara of the temple, 
remitting certain taxes on some temple lands (ARE 79 of 1927- 
28). We could conclude that the first prakara had come into exist- 
ence even during these days. In the fifth year, an agreement 
was made by the assembly of Pugalur to pay 10 kasus as interest 
on 40 kasus lent to them from the sum given by Parkkaran Arumoli 
of Velur, in Puliyur nadu, a division of Vijayarajendra valanadu 
for the expenses of the nul erram ceremony ( dhvajarohanam ?) in 
the temple (ARE 57 of 1927-28). The same lady also set up the 
image of Ulaguyyakondasola Surriya devar ( vitankar ) and pro- 
vided money for offerings to this deity (sixth year; ARE 64 of 
1927-28). In the eleventh year, one Devanpattagal Pandaram 
and hei daughter, belonging to the Swapadasekhara-tirumanjanattar- 
velam, set up in the temple at Pugalur images of Surya devar and 
His two Consorts and presented them with ornaments (ARE 
63 of 1927-28). 



TEMPLE OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME IO9 

Evidently, the first prakara wall came to be built along with 
the central shrine, or at least during the Middle Chola period, 
and the mandapa adjoining the north wall of enclosure was the 
contribution of one Chedirayan, the headman of Arkadu. No 
date is mentioned. The existence of lion-pillars in the Middle 
Chola period is confirmed. They are found even in the Later 
Chola period (see Early Chola Temples, pp. 246-7 ; ARE 78 and 79 
of 1927-28). 

Tiruppugalur is particularly significant, as the place where 
Appar attained his salvation (Pis 58 to 60 and Lalit Kala 17). 

NAGAPATTINAM 

KARONASVAMIN (KAYA-AROHANAR) TEMPLE 9 

Ptolemy, the ancient Greek geographer, mentions Nikama 
as a great emporium in the east coast of South India, an important 
seaport, strategically situated, connecting the great cities of the 
west — and later the Arab cities — on the one side, with the 
Krishna (Amaravati) region and the Gangetic valley skirting 
the Bay of Bengal, the Nicobar group of islands (Manakkavaram), 
Burma, Kedah (Kadaram), Sri Vijaya (in Sumatra) and other 
Indonesian islands, the Philippines and China in the east, on the 
other. 

One of the 127 temples in the Tanjavur district south of the 
Kaveri celebrated in the Devaram hymns is at Nagapattinam 
(hymn no. 82). The temple called “Tiru-Nagai-Karonam” is 
situated less than a kilometre north of the railway station, which 
lies on the Tanjavur-Nagore branch line jof the Southern Railway. 

Nagai is described as having lagoons and being washed by the 
waves of the sea. It was a city of the learned, with long streets, 
adorned with mansions; and the port was full of ships. 

Various traditions have grown round this ancient coastal 
town. Adiseshan, the king of the Nagas who was issueless, wor- 
shipped the Lord of this temple and was blessed with a daughter. 
The Naga chief gave his daughter in marriage to Salisukan of 
the Surya dynasty and crowned him king. Hence the name of 



I 10 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


Nagai, which, being a coastal town, came to be called Nagai- 
pattinam. 

Legends mention that there lived in Vedapuram on the banks 
of the Yamunai a rishi called Karuttamar by name. He had a 
spiritual bent of mind. On the advice of sages, he went on a pil- 
grimage in the course of which he reached Nagai (Nagapattinam) 
and worshipped the Lord of the local temple. As a reward for his 
supreme devotion, the Lord absorbed the devotee into himself. 
Hence the name of the Lord “Kaya-arohanar”, which became in 
popular parlance “Karonar”. This is the legendary account of the 
origin of this name. A stone sculpture of this rishi is found on a pillar 
of the mahamandapa of this temple ; there is a tradition that there 
was here a settlement of the Pasupata sect from Karohana in 
Gujarat. We have similar temples at Kanchi and Kumbakonam. 

The Tamil epic, Manimekhalai, mentions that the Chola king 
Killi-Valavan married a Naga princess and their offspring was 
Tondaiman Ilandiraiyan of the Pallava race. 

Agastya was another devotee of this Lord. King Dasaratha 
of Ayodhya is said to have consecrated here an icon of Sani 
(Saturn) to rid him of his sins. 

The temple of Nagaikaronam should be one of the earliest 
temples of Tamil land. Its Lord is sung by the Tamil hvmnists 
Appar and Sambandar (seventh century a.d.) and Sundarar 
(early ninth century). Kayarohanesvarar (now called Karona- 
svamin) is extolled by the hvmnists in the various aspects of Siva, 
such as Ardhanarisvarar, Lingodbhavar, Tripurantakar, Gaja- 
sura-Samharar (who wore the elephant’s hide), Kalari, 
Kamadahanamurti, the subduer of the proud Ravana of ten 
heads and twenty arms, one who cut off the fifth head of Brahma, 
the swallower of halahala poison, one who dances in the cremation 
ground, the wearer of the garland of skulls, and polemically as 
the chastiser of the heretical Buddhists and Jains. The place is 
one of the Saptavitankar shrines; the local vitankar is called Sundara 
Vitankar; it is famous for the Taranga form of dance. Sundarar 
prays before the Lord here, as usual for gold, precious stones, 
ornaments, pearls, silk, scents, unguents and even a horse for his 
wives Paravai and Sangili. 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 


1 1 I 


Nagapattinam was also the home of one of the 63 Tamil 
saints, Aripatta Nayanar. He was a fisherman and the head of 
their clan. He used to fish in the sea and give away the first catch 
to the Lord of Karonam. The Lord tested the depth of his devo- 
tion one day, when he caught only one fish ; even that was offered 
to the Lord and he submitted himself to a life of self-denial. 
Another day his only catch was a gold fish, and even this was 
thrown into the sea as an offering to Siva. At once he attained 
salvation. 

Nagapattinam grew in importance as a sea-port and commer- 
cial centre in the days of the Cholas. There was close contact 
between the Sri Vijaya kingdom in the Indonesian archipelago 
and the Chola empire. A vihara was built at Nagapattinam for 
the Buddhists, named after the king of Kataha (Kadaram) and 
supported by extensive grants in the shape of land revenue from 
the village of Anaimangalam close by. There would appear to 
have been stationed high-level emissaries of the king of Kataha 
at Nagapattinam. We have seen, while dealing with Rajarajes- 
varam at Tanjavur, that among the more important temples 
which contributed temple- women ( talip-pendir ) to the metro- 
politan temple was that of Tirukkaronam or Karonam at Nagai 
(SII, II, p. 260). 

In this temple there are a number of inscriptions of Raja- 
raja I, Rajendra I, Rajaraja II and Kulottunga III. The earliest 
of them, found on the west wall of the central shrine below the 
Lingodbhavar image, is dated in the twenty-fifth year of Raja- 
raja I and records a gift of 20 kasus for supplying paddy for food 
offerings to the deity (ARE 165 of 1956-57). A twenty-ninth 
year record of Rajaraja I mentions a gift of land in Palaiyur 
for worship and offerings to the Mahadevar of Tirukkaronam 
by the urar (the residents) of Nagapattinam in the Pattinak- 
kurram (ARE 167 of 1956-57). 

Two inscriptions belong to the third year of Rajendra I; one 
records a gift of a jewel set with precious stones such as pachchai, 
maragadam, manikkam and others in various parts like Virappattam, 
makaram, vattappu , paruttikural and others, weighing altogether 
14I kalanjus and one manjadi, to the silver image of Nagaiyalagar 



MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


1 1 a 

set up in the temple called Tirukkaronam in Nagapattinam in 
Kshatriyasikhamani valanadu by the agent (kanmi) of the king 
of Sri Vijaya ( srivijay attar aiyar ) whose name is lost, belonging 
to Menronri-pattinam in Kil-sembi nadu in Rajaraja mandalam. 
The record mentions the name of the engraver, who was one 
Eran Sadaiyan (ARE 164 of 1956-57). The other record men- 
tions a gift of land by Mahilatti Sendan alias Keralantaka . . . 
a merchant of Nagapattinam, and the gift is mentioned as having 
been made tax-free by the urar (ARE 162 of i 956 ~ 57 )- 

Evidently it is the same Eran Sadaiyan alias Devarakanda 
Acharyan who fashioned several types of lamps like pavai-vilakku, 
kurakku-vilakku and matta-vilakku, which were given as gifts to the 
temple by Nimalan Agastisvaran, the “agent of the king of Sri- 
Vishayam” (ARE 161 of 1956-57). It is likely that the agent in 
both these cases was the same person. In the second year (presum- 
ably of Rajendra I), several silver utensils for use in the temple 
were gifted by several persons including some merchants and 
Sivabrahmanas (ARE 163 of 1956-57). In the seventh year of 
Rajendra I, it is mentioned that two gifts were made each of 
87! kalanjus of chinakkanakam, and one of 6of kalanjus of undigaip- 
pon, for (a) jewels to god Tirukkaronamudaivar, <b) worship 
and food offerings (avi-bali) to Ardhanarigal, and (c) feeding two 
brahmanas at the temple, by Kurttan Kesuvan alias Agralekai, 
the agent of Kidarattaraiyan. The donor is stated to have set up 
and consecrated the image of Ardhanari(gal) (ARE 166 of 
1956 - 57 )- 

These precious gifts were made possibly at the behest of the 
king of Sri Vijaya and Kadaram, Chulamanivarman, or his 
successor Maravijayottungan, and in token of appreciation of the 
extensive grants made by Rajaraja I in his twenty-first year to 
the Chulamani Vihara alias Rajarajap-perumballi erected by 
him at Nagapattinam. An interesting fact is the mention of 
chinak-kanakarn (gold from China), indicative of close political 
and maritime contact among the three kingdoms of China, the 
Cholas and Sri Vijaya and Kadaram. 

During the days of Rajadhiraja I, an image of Adavallan 
was consecrated by Cholap-Pallavadaraiyan in the temple of 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 



Tirukkaronam udaiyar (ARE 159 of 1956-57). There is only one 
record of Rajendra IPs period, which registers some grant made 
for food offerings on every Sunday. The donor of the Adavallan 
image during the days of Rajadhiraja I is mentioned in this 
connection and we gather that he bore the alternate name of 
Madhurakaran; another chief mentioned is Rajendrasolap- 
Pallavaraiyan (ARE 160 of 1956-57). There are no records 
of the other Middle and Later Gholas till we come to the reign 
of Rajaraja II. Found on the tiers of the mahamandapa is an 
inscription dated in his tenth year which records a gift of 83 
kasus for a perpetual lamp to god Tirukkaronamudaiyar at 
Nagapattinam ( alias Solakulavalli-pattinam in Pattinak-kurram 
in Geyamanikka valandau) by members of agambadi niyayangal 
such as vettikkarar, agambadi, anukkavil and others (ARE 154 of 
1 956-5 7). His successor has two inscriptions dated in his fifth 
and tenth years respectively; the fifth year record registers an 
agreement between the Sivabrahmanas of the temple and Ponnam- 
balakkuttan Nadudaiyan, headman of Vallam in Palaiya Vallam 
in Tiruvarur kurram, in respect of a perpetual lamp for which 
the latter deposited 85 kasus with the former (ARE 153 of 
1 956-57). The next record, of Rajadhiraja II, is about the gift 
of 30 kasus for burning a lamp before god Dakshinamurti Devar 
“who was pleased to be seated in the stone temple” of Tiruch- 
chirrambalam Udaiyan, by a merchant at Kollapuram (modern 
Kolhapur?) (ARE 155 of 1956-57). 

Evidently, the shrine for Thyagaraja came into existence in 
the years following the accession of Kulottuna III to the Chola 
throne; we find a fourth year record of Tribhuvanachakravartigal 
Virarajendra (Kulottunga III) which makes interesting reading 
in this context. The transaction is recorded of a sale of land at 
Nelvayal alais Kulottungasolanallur in Ala nadu belonging to 
Mankondan Devandan of Alattur in lieu of 510 kalanjus of gold 
which he owed to the tannattar. Mankondan Devandan was a 
resident of the tirumadaivilagam of Kapalavani-Nayanar of Naga- 
pattinam and originally owed 255 kalanjus to the tannattar of the 
place. The debt was not repaid for a long time and when they 
pressed him for the re-payment, Devandan delayed it further 


I 14 MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 

as evidently he was not in a position to return the money. He 
would appear to have come by a sizeable property on the death 
of his elder brother, Mankondan Nayanar, out of which he paid 
back the dues as settled by the tannattar at twice the original sum 
(510 kalanjus), which he did by parting with a big chunk of the 
inherited land, valued at 4,79,400 kasus. The deed of this transac- 
tion was called “ iranakraya-pramana-isaivu-tittu We get an idea 
of the ratio of kasu to kalanjus, viz., 4,79,400 kasus being equivalent 
to 510 kalanjus (i.e. 910 kasu to a kalanju) in this period. Another 
inscription records the sale deed relating to another piece of 
land belonging to Mankondan Devandan, who, on the death 
of his elder brother, inherited this and the piece of land mentioned 
above (ARE 168 and 169 of 1956-57). In the fourteenth regnal 
year of Kulottunga III, jewels made of gold and silver were given 
as gift to the deities of Tirukkaronam Udaiyar and Alaga-vitanka- 
Perumal by Malai-mel-amarndinar alias Vanavan Vilupparaiyan 
of Marudamangalam (ARE 150 of 1956-57). 

We have every reason to conclude that this temple at Naga- 
pattinam was re-built in the early years of Rajaraja I and that 
it received considerable attention from the representatives of the 
king of Sri Vijaya and Kadaram in the years following the issue 
of the Larger Leyden Grant, which placed the village of Anaiman- 
galam at the disposal of the Buddhist vihara named after that king. 
Evidently Nagapattinam was an important port of call for the 
tradesmen from that kingdom and the vihara would have catered 
to their religious needs. In view of its commercial and military 
importance we get such names as Senamukham (cantonment) 
and Madigai Ariyachchalai, and terms like agambadi niyayangal, 
comprising several constituents such as vettaikkaravar, terinda-vil, 
agambadi-anukka-vil, Rajarajan-velaikkarar , Senapatigal and Danda- 
nayakam, all military terms describing various units, regiments 
and commanders. 

The temple faces east. The inner gopuram has three storeys 
and the outer, five. Behind the Linga of Karohanar, there is a 
sculpture of Somaskandar surrounded by rishis as we find at 
Vijayalaya Cholisvaram at Vikkanampundi and Tiruvilimilalai. 
The sculptures of the devakoshtas are Dakshinamurti in the south, 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 


115 

Lingodbhavar in the west and Brahma, Ardhanarisvarar, Durgai 
and Bhikshatanar in the north. There should have been an icon 
of Ganapati in a southern niche. The Chandesvarar shrine is 
situated in the north prakara close to the main shrine. 

The Vitankar shrine lies to the south of the main shrine. 
The Amman shrine should belong to the Later Chola period. 
The present structure of the main shrine indicates renovation in 
the days of Sembiyan Mahadevi. Among the bronzes, we may 
mention the five-faced Herambha Ganapati riding a lion, a 
Subrahmanyar figure with bow and arrow and a Nataraja a 
dated bronze of the period of Rajadhiraja I (Pis 61 to 70). 

NAGAPATTINAM 

GHULAMANI VIHARA (BUDDHIST TEMPLE) 10 

At the beginning of the eleventh century, when the Cholas 
reached the apogee of their power and authority, there was inti- 
mate cultural, religious and trade intercourse between the Cholas 
and the Sailendras who ruled over the Malay peninsula and parts 
of Indonesia. The Sailendra king Chulamanivarman embarked 
on the construction of a “surpassingly beautiful shrine for the 
Buddha” named after himself at the seaport of Nagapattinam. 
This vihara , known as the “Chulamanivarman vihara” is 
described in the Larger Leyden Grant as of a loftiness that 
“belittled Kanakagiri (Mount Meru)”. The copper plate grant 
mentions that in the twenty-first year, ninety-second day of his 
reign (a.d. 1005), Rajaraja I gave to this vihara, which was com- 
pleted by Chulamanivarman’s son “Maravijayottungavarman, 
born in the Sailendra family, Lord of Sri Vishaya (Sri Vijaya) 
and Kataha (Kadaram) who had the makara crest, at Naga- 
pattinam in Pattinak-kurram included in the Kshatriya-sikha- 
mani valanadu”, the village of Anaimangalam, comprising 
in extent 97 and odd veils of land yielding an annual income of 
8,943 and odd kalams of paddy. All the rights and privileges, 
and also various types of taxes due to the king were granted in 
perpetuity to the authorities of the palli as tax-free pallichchandam. 


I 1 6 MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 

This deed was finally drawn up and presented to the Sangha on 
the 1 63rd day of his twenty-third year. 

“When Rajaraja I attained divinity,” so says the record, 
“his son Madhurantaka (Rajendra I) ordered that the vihara 
with its endowment last as long as the earth endures.” 

It was a four-sided tower of three storeys which remained 
for a long time as an important landmark on the coast of Naga- 
pattinam. The Jesuits got it demolished in a.d. 1867 after ob- 
taining permission from the Madras Government (see the picture 
of the vihara in ruins as it appeared in a.d. 1846 — page 243 of 
article no. 34, Epigraphia lndica, XXII, the Larger Leyden plates 
of Rajaraja I; Also Indian Antiquary, VII). 

In the Smaller Leyden Grant issued in the twentieth regnal 
year of Kulottunga I (a.d. 1090), the Chulamani vihara gets 
the alternate name of Rajarajap-perumpalli, now said to be located 
at Solakulavalli-pattinam. 

This grant mentions another palli here called Rajendrasolap- 
perumpalli. For the benefit of these two pallis, Kulottunga I gave 
the income of not only Anaimangalam but also eight other 
villages round about it. 

TIRUKKALAR 

11 PARIJATAVANESVARAR TEMPLE 

Tirukkalar is a village about 16 kms south-east of the taluk 
headquarters of Mannargudi in the Tanjavur district and has one 
of the oldest temples of Tamil nadu. The village has the alternate 
name of Parijata-vanam and hence the name of Parijatavanes- 
varar for the deity of the temple here. Sambandar has sung the 
praise of the Lord who is also called Adaindaarkku Arul Seyda 
Nayanar — He who blesses those who seek him. The deity is 
also called Kalar-mulai-nathesvarar and the Amman is called 
Alagesari Ammai. Parasara and Kalava munis are said to have 
worshipped the Lord of the place. The Nataraja here is said to 
have given darsana in His dancing stance to Durvasa muni. So 
the sacred tank of the temple is called Durvasa tirtham. 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA I’s TIME 


117 

In the inscriptions, the place is called Vengurkala Tirukkalar 
in Purangarambai nadu of Arumolideva valanadu, which in 
the days of Kulottunga I gets renamed Rajendrasola valanadu. 
The temple as it stands today is a sorry spectacle of uninformed 
renovation where all the original inscriptions, fortunately copied 
by the Madras Government in 1902, have been lost and some 
stray slabs containing those inscriptions in fragments are now 
seen fitted haphazardly into the northern wall of the Amman 
shrine. The temple of Siva has now lost all its original character- 
istics. The inscriptions copied in 1902, include those of Rajadhi- 
raja I, Rajaraja II, Virarajendra and Kulottunga III, the Pandyan 
kings Jatavarman Srivallabha and Maravarman Kulasekhara, 
and the Vijayanagara rulers Viruppanna and Vira Bhupati. 
What however is noteworthy about the temple today are the 
fine sets of copper plates relating to certain grants made by 
Rajendra I (eighteenth year), Rajadhiraja I (thirty-first year), 
Kulottunga I (twenty-eighth year), Rajaraja II (eighteenth 
year), and Kulottunga III (twenty-sixth year) dealing with 
grants of land and vessels and the last about the list of gold and 
silver jewels of the temple. There is also the fine set of metals found 
in the temple relating to the Middle Chola period.* The Raja- 
rajadeva copper plate makes an interesting point. It records that 
some of the families of the donees ceased to have male members 
and that in consequence a question arose as to how the feeding 
pertaining to those families should be conducted in future; the 
mahesvaras settled that the feeding, stipulated in the grant to be 
done by the donees, devolved on the female descendants as well. 
Arrangements were made by the families concerned in accord- 
ance with the ruling of the mahesvaras (SII, III, Pt IV, 210). 

Among the exquisite bronzes housed here are the Adip-pura 
Amman (70 cm), Subrahmanyar (57 cm), Chandrasekharar 
(73 cm), Tani Amman (54 cm), Sukhasana Amman (55 cm), 
Chandesvarar (60 cm), Sundarar (50 cm), Manikkavachagar 
(54 cm), Sambandar (50 cm), Appar (50 cm) and Nataraja and 


*See Sewell’s Lists of Antiquities, Vol., I, p. 280; inscriptions 642 to 655 of the Madras 
Epigraphical collection for 1902; also SII, III, Pt IV. 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


1 1 8 

Amman (87 cm and 52 cm respectively). Most of them should 
be attributed to the age of Rajaraja I (Pis 71-75). 

TIRUKKARA VASAL 

12 K ANN A Y I R A- NAT H A - S V A M I N TEMPLE 

Tirukkaravasal, which in the ancient days was known as 
Tirukkarayil, is about 13 kms south of Tiruvarur on the road 
to Tirutturaippundi and is about five kms south-east of the rail- 
way station of Tirunattiyattankudi. 

It is one of the seven Vitanka centres ( Saptavitanka-kshetra ).* 
Indra and Muchukunda Chakravarti are said to have worshipped 
the Lord here. Hence the sacred tank to the north of the temple 
is called “Indra-tirtham”. 

The temple at Tirukkarayil is among the many from 
which talip-pendir were deputed to the Rajarajesvaram temple 
at Tanjavur and we are aware that it was in existence even as 
early as the third regnal year of Rajaraja I. The temple was 
completely renovated by the Nagarattars of Chettinad in the 
recent past and the old features have been totally lost : the pil- 
lars of the earlier structure have found their way to a grove 
close by and a mutilated record of the third year of Rajakesari- 
varman Mummudi Choladeva (Rajaraja I), found in one 
of them, records a gift of land 35 ma in extent by the sabha for 
a lamp to the temple called here that of the Mahadevar of 
Tirukkarayil, a brahmadeya in Puliyur nadu (ARE 453 of 1908). 
A twenty-seventh year record of the same ruler found in another 
pillar in the same place records the construction of the olakka 
mandapam (ARE 453 of 1908). A third record found on another 
similar pillar is dated in the third regnal year of Rajendra I 
and it refers to a gift of land for a lamp and for offerings to the 
temple of Tirukkarayil Udaiyar (ARE 451 of 1908). On some 
of the detached stones lying in the same grove is an incomplete 


*The others are Tiruvarur, Tirukkuvalai, Tiruvoymur, Vedaranyam, Nagappattinam 
and Nallur — also see Early Chola Temples , Tiruvarur, p.194. 



temples of rajaraja i’s time 


"9 

record of the twenty-eighth year of Rajaraja III, relating to 
a gift of land for feeding the persons who recited the Tirumurai 
in the Tirukkaikkotti of the temple. This gift is made by the 
residents of Muvur, a village in Puliyur nadu, a sub-division 
of Arumolideva valanadu. 

The practice of reciting the Tirumurai in the tirukkaikkotti 
is corroborated by an inscription on the west wall of the first 
prakara of the Villinathasvamin temple at Tiruvilimilalai where 
from we learn that the Tirukkaikkotti there was constructed 
during the Pandyan days for the purpose of the recitation 
of the Tirumurai hymns (ARE 414 of 1908). 

We are primarily concerned here with the exquisite bronzes 
in the temple ascribable to the time of Rajaraja I. Among 
them may be mentioned those of Somaskanda (100 and 80 cms) 
Bhikshatanar (93 cms) and the Katchikodutta Nayanar (Ri- 
shabhantikadevar) (100 cms) with Amman (80 cms) as also 
Nataraja and His Consort. They are all in the grand style of 
the ateliers of Rajaraja I’s days and deserve their place among 
the class metals of the period (Pis 76 to 80) . 

As regards the central shrine, which faces east, it is note- 
worthy that the icon in the western niche of the srivimana is 
Vishnu, the others being Dakshinamurti and Brahma. In the 
ardhamandapa, Durga occupies the northern niche. 

NARTTAMALAI 

TIRUMALAIK-KADAMBUR TEMPLE 13 

Narttamalai is a small village in the former princely state 
of Pudukkottai till recently a division in the Tiruchirappalli 
district and now reconstituted into a separate district called 
Pudukkottai. It lies about 4 kms (2$ miles) from the railway station 
of the same name on the Tiruchi-Manamadurai chord line of 
the Southern Railway. 

The place is of great antiquity. Its modern name, Nartta- 
malai, is a corruption of Nagarattar-malai, the hillside abode 
of a merchant-guild which was a branch of a larger commercial 



120 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


corporation called the “JVanadesis”, which carried on extensive 
trade not only in different parts of India but also with lands 
beyond the seas, especially in South-East Asia. 

In inscriptions of the eleventh century a.d., the place was 
called Telunga-kula-kala-puram; and, in the thirteenth 
century, by the name of Kulottunga Cholap-pattinam (after 
Kulottunga III). 

A chain of eight hillocks encircles the village, and the valley 
below presents an enchanting view. Today, the place is famous 
for its Mariyamman temple, which receives the homage of the 
people over a wide area beyond the limits of the village. But 
in the past, it was known for a number of other splendid monu- 
ments, on one of the eight hillocks, called Melamalai, two of 
them being rock-cut cave temples. From local inscriptions, we 
learn that there were also structural stone temples. The ear- 
liest of these is the Vijayalaya Cholisvaram, the oldest of the 
Chola temples in Tamil Nadu (See Early Chola Art, Part I). 

Among other structural temples the most important is the 
Melaik-Kadambur temple (also known as the Tirumalaik- 
Kadambur Isvaram) of the days of Rajaraja I. 

The temple has a portion of the rock itself for its northern 
wall. The earliest inscription relating to it dates to the twenty- 
second year of Rajaraja I (a.d. 1007) and is inscribed on the 
rock forming the northern wall. In it, the presiding deity is 
called Malaik-kadambur Devar. Considering the style of the 
architecture, we can affirm that the date of erection of the 
temple could not have been far removed from that of this in- 
scription. The inscriptions in this temple range over the entire 
Chola period. In an inscription of the twenty-eighth year of 
Rajaraja I found on the rock surface east of the temple, there 
is mention of a gift of land for five drummers ( uvachchar kottu ) 
by the “ nagaram of Telungakulakalapuram in Annalvaiyil 
kurram (i.e., Konadu) in Keralantaka valanadu” [Inscrip- 
tions (Text), Pudukkottai State, no. gi]. There are a few inscrip- 
tions of the period of Rajendrall; one of his fifth year found 
on a rock north of the Mangala-tirtha tank in front of the temple, 
beginning with the introduction tiru-madu puvi-enum refers to 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA I’s TIME 


I 2 1 


an agreement to which the nagaram is a party (no. 112, ibid). 
Another of the same year, beginning with the introduction tiru- 
maruviya sengol, mentions a gift for the supply of five pots of 
water each, for the three services for the sacred bath of the Lord 
(no. 1 13, ibid.). After a big gap of a century and more, we get 
records of Kulottunga III relating to his 27th, 31st, 37th and 
38th years (nos. 158, 170, 173, ibid.). The first of them gives 
the deity the name of Sri Kailasam Udaiya Nayanar and from 
the next, we come to know of the existence of the Palliyarai ^ 
Nachchiyar, mentioned already, for whom a gift of five kalan- 
jus of gold for food offerings was made; the third record of his 
thirty-seventh year relates to a gift of land as devadana , which 
was bought for 8,000 kalanjus. It also refers to a gift to the 
Kuttadum Devar (Nataraja) in the temple of Tirumalaik- 
Kadambur Nayanar; the names of Sri Kailasamudaiya Nayanar 
and Tiru-Anaikka-Udaiya Nayanar occur. The setting up of 
the image of Dakshinamurti for whom a provision for food 
offerings is made, is noticed from his 38th year record (a.d. 
1216). 

From a record of Rajendra III, the last of the Chola rulers, 
relating to his seventh year, we get to know of a temple artisan 
(i tachcha-acharyan ) and his father whose services ( tiruppanigal ) 
to the following shrines are referred to: (i) Nayanar koyil 
(Tirumalaikkadambur), (ii) Tiru-Anaikka-Udaiya Nayanar tem- 
ple and (Hi) Nachchiyar tirukkoyil. 

The central shrine built of stone is simple and imposing. 
The garbhagriha is a plain structure of well-dressed stones, show- 
ing great artistic skill; on the outer walls of the garbhagriha, 
there are niches for subsidiary deities. The pillars and pilasters 
have the usual features of temples of the days of Rajaraja I. 
Above the cornice and below the griva, there is a continuous 
frieze of yalis. At the four corners of the griva, there are four 
niches for deities, surmounted by simha-lalatams. The sikhara 
of the srivimana is bell-shaped; further up, over a base of 
lotus petals, stands the stone stupi (See my Four Chola 
Temples). 

The temple has an air of simple grandeur, with its back- 


lA— -f 



122 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


ground of hills and beautiful natural scenery. It belongs to the 
age of Rajaraja I.* 

TIRUNEDUNGALAM 

NITYASUNDARESVARA-SVAMIN 
14 (TIRU-NEDUNGALANATHASVAMIN) TEMPLE 

Tirunedungalam is now a village 3J kms west of the Sola- 
gampatti railway station, 11.3 kms east of the railway station 
of Tiruverumbur, a few kilometres off the industrial establish- 
ment of Bharat Heavy Electricals, close to the village of Tuvak- 
kudi from which there runs a branch road in the north-east 
direction to connect it to the temple. 

This temple, of great antiquity, is included in the Kshetra- 
Venba of the Tamil Saint, the Pallava Ayyadigal Kadavarkon, 
who should be ascribed to the days before Appar and Sambandar. 
This temple was visited by Sambandar, who has a hymn of eleven 
stanzas on the Lord of Nedungalam. He sings of the Lord as 
the one who destroyed Yama to save his devotee, who held 
Himavan’s daughter on his left and exhibited himself as Ardha- 
narisvarar, who destroyed the Tripura Asuras, who humbled 


*South of the main shrine, a separate shrine for the Goddess called Tiruk-kamak-kottam- 
udaiya Nachchiyar was set up and consecrated, along with a wall of enclosure ( tirumaligai ), 
in a.d. 1228. By this time the region had passed from the control of the Cholas to that of the 
Pandyan ruler Maravarman Sundara Pandya I. 

About the same time, two other Siva temples, called those of Tiruvanaikka-udaiya-nayanar 
and Nagarisvaram-udaiya-nayanar came to be built and consecrated. 

■(•Tirunedungalam is wrongly described as below in the List (Index) of inscriptions copied 
up to 31.3.1938 and published by the Government Epigraphist for India in 1941, p.90 : 
Trichinopoly district, 

Lalgudy taluk; 

Tirunedungulam — hamlet of Mannachchanallur , Nos.664-697 of 1909. 

Tirunedungalam (sometimes called Tirunedungulam) is in Tiruchy taluk and not in 
Lalgudy taluk. 

Mannachchanallur is west of Tiruchy town while Tirunedungalam lies east of Tiruchy and so 
it cannot be a hamlet of Mannachchanallur. After a long search and fruitless enquiry, I found 
the information incorrect. Then I got the facts confirmed by the Office of the Government 
Epigraphist, Mysore. 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA I’s TIME 


123 


Ravana, who stood as a pillar of fire to establish his supremacy 
over Vishnu and Brahma and who worked for the overthrow 
of the heretical Buddhists and Jains. In his days, this temple 
should have been built of brick. 

There is evidence of the existence of this temple during the 
Early Chola period, in fact even during the period of Vijaya- 
laya, the founder of the Chola dynasty of Tanjavur. There is 
however no Chola inscription on the walls of this temple. But 
a later stone inscription — an unspecified king with the title of 
Tribhuvanachakravartin Konerinmaikondan (thirteenth century 
a.d. ?)— on the south wall of the mandapa in front of the 
central shrine records a gift of land to this temple, in accord- 
ance with “an earlier charter of Parakesarivarman Vijayalaya” 
(ARE 675 of 1909). This clearly establishes the existence of this 
temple during the period of Vijayalaya and the grant of land for 
sendees to this Lord. Neither the original grant nor its full parti- 
culars are now forthcoming. If available, this would have been 
the earliest of Chola charters, earlier than the Anbil Plates 
of Sundara Chola. 

The temple faces east and consists of a central shrine, an 
antarala with dvarapalas at its entrance. Further up, there is the 
snapana-mandapa ; it has a window in the south and is adorned 
at its entrance with another set of dvarapalas. The bronzes be- 
longing to this temple are on a platform in the north side of this 
mandapa. 

In this mandapa , near the snap ana-pi tha, there are two Nandis, 
one of stone and another of brass. Further up, there is the ranga- 
mandapa on whose southern side there is the Somaskanda shrine 
guarded by Ganapati and Subrahmanyar serving as dvarapalas. 

The central shrine has a covered verandah running all 
round its three sides (tiru-nadai-maligai) . On the walls of the cen- 
tral shrine, there are three Vijayanagara inscriptions — one 
of Immadi Tammayadeva Maharaja, dated Saka 1422 (a.d. 1500) 
and the others of Viruppanna Udaiyar and Mallikaraya. 
All these Vijayanagara inscriptions (ARE 664, 665 and 666 of 
1909) must have been engraved after the rebuilding of the central 
shrine of the Early Chola temple, sometime in the 15th century 



124 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


a.d. It may be added that on the south wall of the mandapa 
in front of the central shrine, there is an inscription of one Vijaya 
Narayana Udaiyar, son of Bhupati Udaiyar (son of Bukka II ?) 
which records that in Saka 1334 (a.d. 1412) a gift of land, a 
house, and the permanent right of repairing the temple pre- 
mises was made to an architect-cum-engineer who repaired 
the temple at his own expense (serving in an honorary capacity). 
Perhaps it was he and his associates who renovated the Early 
Chola temple in the fifteenth century (ARE 676 of 1909). 

In this connection, reference may be made to a fragmentary 
inscription, on slabs of stone built into the wall of the mandapa 
in front of the main shrine, of a certain Rajakesarivarman (Chola 
king) in association with his Pandya contemporary Varaguna 
(acc. a.d. 862). This Rajakesarivarman should be identified 
with Aditva I. Another fragment contains the name of Madurai- 
konda Parakesari (Parantaka I). This fragment should have 
belonged to the old temple of the Early Chola period. More- 
over, there are no devakoshtas on the walls of the renovated temple. 
The devakoshta sculpture of Dakshinamurti of the earlier temple 
is now placed in a newly built shrine in front of the original 
position for this deity on the southern side, and the icon of Ardha- 
narisvarar of the original shrine (of Aditya I’s age) is placed 
on the western side on the floor of the tiru-nadai-maligai. There 
is a sculpture of Durga on the northern outer wall of the snapana- 
mandapa, close to a JSfavagraha panel housed in a mandapa supported 
by lion pillars. 

Thus there is the likelihood of the old brick temple having 
been rebuilt of stone in the days of Aditya I. This again was 
radically altered and rebuilt in the fifteenth century a.d. 

There are two inscriptions on the walls of the Somaskanda 
shrine. The one of the south wall (ARE 692 of 1909) dated 
Saka 1386 (a.d. 1464) mentions that one Arasan Vallala Devan of 
Mulukkudi built the ranga mandapa (in which the Somaskanda 
icon was housed) and made a gift of lands and a house for 
offerings to the shrine of Kulandai Nayakar (Somaskanda ?). 

The other on the west wall dated Saka 1425 (a.d. 1503) 
refers to a gift of land by a samanta for repairs, offerings and 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 


J 25 


festivals to the temple of Tirunedumangalam-udaiya Tambiran 
(also called Nilasolaivanam-udaiya Nayanar) . The central shrine 
might have been renovated about this time. 

There are a number of Chola and Pandya inscriptions on the 
south wall of the mandapa in front of the central shrine. One 
of them is a damaged inscription of the sixth regnal year of 
Karikala Chola (ARE 672 of 1909). It records a gift of land 
to the temple of Nedungalattur Mahadevar by a native of Kalli- 
kudi (near Golden Rock, Tiruchy). This mandapa seems to be 
original, unlike the central shrine. 

There are two old shrines of the ashta-parivara-alayam, those 
of Ganesa and Chandesvarar. 

Ganesa shrine 

There are three inscriptions of a certain Parakesarivarman, 
on the walls of the Ganesa shrine housing a Valampuri Ganesa 
sculpture, which may be assigned to the period of Madhurantaka 
Uttama Chola. One, of his thirteenth year (ARE 690 of 1909) 
records a gift of land by a private individual for the supply of 
paddy for offerings to the temple of Kayilayattu Mahadevar 
(the deity of the central shrine ?). Another record of the for- 
teenth year (south wall, ARE 684 of 1909) mentions the gift 
of ghee for the purification ceremony ( Agnikaryam ) in the temple 
for the merit of Sembiyan Muvendavelan of Vada-Puraiyur 
nadu who had the title of Uttama Sola-Brahmadhirajakanmi. 

On the walls of this shrine, there are eight inscriptions of 
a Rajakesarivarman, which have to be assigned to Rajaraja I. 

On the south wall of the shrine, there is an inscription whose 
date is expressed as “three in figures and six in words” (ARE 
682 of 1909). We are not sure about its exact date. It records 
that an image called Lokasundarar was set up in the temple 
of Tirunedungalattu-alvar in Kavira nadu by a native of Orriyur. 
It mentions also a gift of land for offerings. This deity may be 
either Chandrasekharar or Tripurantakar. There is an inscription 
of the eighth year of a Rajakesarivarman on the south wall 
(ARE 683 of 1909) which relates to a gift of land to a native of 
Suralur by the mahesvaras, the temple servants and the residents 



126 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


of Tirunedungalam. The object of the grant is not clear. Another 
record of the same year on the west wall (ARE 688 of 1909) 
refers to a gift of land by the assembly of Tirunedungalam to a 
person who agreed to provide 220 kalams of paddy to the temple 
for offerings from the tenth year (described as the year, opposite 
to the year, opposite to the eighth year, 8 + 1 — 1 = 10) onwards. An 
inscription of the ninth regnal year found on the east wall 
(ARE 681 of 1909) mentions a gift of 61 cows for the supply of 
panchagavyam (five products of the cow used for religious cere- 
monies) and for burning lamps and incense before the Mahadevar 
of Tirunedungalam, a devadana in Kavira nadu. In the same 
year, there is an inscription (ARE 687 of 1909) which records 
a gift of land made by a native of Orriyur for feeding 550 
Sivayogins during the festival of seven days in Masi and Chittirai 
(by supplying 30 kalams of paddy by the local standard 
measure). A tenth year inscription found on the south wall 
(ARE 685 of 1909) records a gift of gold for a lamp to the 
Pillaiyar-Ganapati installed in this shrine, by a certain Kolam- 
banachchan of Idaikkudi. Another inscription of the same year 
(ARE 686 of 1909) records a gift of 20 kalams of paddy for 
offerings. One Kamban Maniyan alias Vikramasinga Muven- 
davelan made, in the fourteenth regnal year, a gift of a gold 
ornament and a copper-tipped mattali (drum) for the sribali 
service in the temple (ARE 691 of 1909). Incidentally, it may 
be mentioned that the same Chief got an emerald image ( mara - 
kata devar) from the king Rajaraja I out of the booty taken in 
the Malai Nadu campaign and consecrated it in the Apat- 
sahayesvarar temple at Tiruppalanam in Tanjavur district 
(ARE 135 of 1927-28). Evidently he was an important local 
Chief and possibly assisted Rajaraja I in the campaign in Malai 
Nadu (Kerala region). After an interval of nearly two centuries 
(some inscriptions of this intervening period might have suffered 
destruction at the time of the reconstruction of this temple in 
the fifteenth century a.d.), there are two inscriptions of the thirty- 
second regnal year of Tribhuvana-Chakravartin Tribhuvana 
Vira Deva (i.e., Kulottunga III). One records a gift of land 
(ARE 674 of 1909) and the other (ARE 670 of 1909) records 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 


127 


also a gift of land to this temple by one Tillai-Tiru-Nattap-peru- 
mal alias Vijayalaya Muttaraiyan of Valambakkudi - note the 
persistent association of the name of Vijayalaya with this place 
and temple. The same donor figures also in an inscription of the 
fourth regnal year of Rajaraja III (Chandesvarar shrine; ARE 
679 of 1909). It records that a Linga was set up in the first prakara 
of the temple of Tirunedungalam Udaiyar in the name of Ulaga- 
nadisvaram Udaiyar for the merit of Tillai-Tiru-Nattap-perumal 
alias Vijayalaya Muttaraiyan of Valambakkudi by one of his 
sons, Anapaya Muttaraiyan. West of the temple well and the 
Chandesvarar shrine in the first prakara of this temple, there 
is a later Linga shrine now called the Agastyesvaram. It seems 
very probable that the Ulaganadisvaram shrine might have 
been named Agastyesvaram in recent times. This surmise seems 
to get support from the fact that the Agastyesvaram shrine is 
close to the Chandesvarar shrine on whose wall is found the 
inscription of the days of Rajaraja III, which mentions the 
consecration of the new Linga shrine (ARE 679 of 1909). 

On the east wall of the Chandesvarar shrine, there is another 
inscription of the fourth year of Rajaraja III (ARE 678 of 1909). 
It records the sale of land by some members of the assembly 
of Tirunedungalam which got the alternate name of Thyagavalli- 
chaturvedimangalam, a brahmadeya in Vada Kavira nadu, a sub- 
division of Pandyakulasani valanadu, evidently for some service 
to the local deity. This is the last Chola inscription in this temple. 

The interior of the garbhagriha is octagonal. The temple is 
eka-tala; its sikhara too is octagonal. 

Sculptures of Jyeshtha devi and two sets of Saptamatrikas 
are placed in the south-west portion of the tiruch-churru-maligai. 
Stone images of Kshetrapalar and Surya are found in the eastern 
verandah of the first prakara. A Bhairavar shrine is located close 
to the main entrance to the first prakara. The temple has a stone 
mortar and there is also a brass horse. The gateway of the first 
prakara has a three-storeyed gopuram. 

The bronzes housed in the temple are of Ganesa, big and 
small, Subrahmanyar and His Consorts, Chandesvarar, Pradosha- 
murti, Manikkavasagar, Nataraja and Sivakami, two sets of 



128 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


Pidari, Ghandrasekharar, Tani- Amman and Somaskanda, which 
was perhaps housed in the Somaskanda shrine. 

The later Amman shrine of Mangalambika (or Oppilla 
Nayaki) is on the north side of the second prakara. It faces south. 
The second prakara is entered by a gateway which has no super- 
structure. 

Further east is the sacred tank of the temple. This is a very 
ancient and celebrated temple sung by Ayyadigal Kadavarkon 
and Sambandar. The temple should have been a brick structure 
in the Early Chola age. Vijayalaya had made a grant of land 
to the deity. In the days of Aditya I, it should have been rebuilt 
of stone. The western devakoshta sculpture of Ardhanarisvarar 
reinforces this supposition as to its age. The central shrine was 
rebuilt in the fifteenth century a.d. A lot of Chola inscriptions 
must have been destroyed during this renovation (Pis 81-90). 

The temple has enjoyed the homage of the devotees from the 
latter half of thesixth century down to the eighteenth century a.d., 
as evidenced by its lithic records covering Chola, Hoysala, Pandya, 
Vijayanagara and Madurai Nayaka periods. It is still in active 
worship. 

TIRUMANGALAM 

SAMAVEDISVARAR (PARASURAMISVARAR) 

15 TEMPLE 

The village of Tirumangalam is in Lalgudy taluk of Tiruchy 
district and is reached by turning left at the 15th km stone from 
Tiruchy on the Tiruchy-Chidambaram road. From the main 
road, the village is about 4 kms and is reached by a tortuous 
country road. 

The main temple of the village is dedicated to Samavedisvarar 
and the Amman is Loganayaki. The temple is a very old one 
dating back to the days of Rajaraja I or even Aditya I. 

It is associated with Parasurama who according to local 
tradition worshipped the Lord of this place and obtained his 
axe ( parasu ); hence the deity is known in inscriptions as Para- 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA I’s TIME 


129 


suramisvarar. One of the 63 saints, Aanaaya Nayanar of the 
Aayar kulam lived here and he was a great devotee of the Lord of 
of this place; he played devotional songs on the flute enchanting 
man and beast and even the Lord himself. Tradition has it that 
he attained beatitude even as he was playing on the flute. There 
is in the temple a rather late representation in stone of this 
Nayanar playing on the flute under a tree, reminiscent of the 
story of Krishna playing on the flute. A modern metal on this 
theme is now under worship in a small cella to the south of the 
entrance to the mandapa of the temple. 

The earliest inscriptions found on the walls of this temple 
relate to the fifth year of the reign of Rajaraja I. On the south 
wall of the central shrine, there is a record of Rajarajakesarivar- 
man which mentions a gift of gold by a certain Karuvur Kandali, 
the headman ( pattinam kilan) of Nagapattinam in Pattina kurram 
for a twilight lamp in the temple which is called that of Para- 
suramisvara Mahadevar (ARE 250 of 1929-30). The other one 
which is also of the same year but is fragmentary, mentions the 
temple of Parasuramisvarattu-Mahadevar at Tirumangalam. 
Below this record there is another in similar characters dated in 
the fifteenth year (the name of the king is lost referring to a certain 
Kalavan Nandis varan Sankaranarayanan of the village (ARE 
248 of 1929-30). In an inscription of the fifteenth year of Raja- 
raja I found on the same wall, a gift is made of land by purchase, 
made tax-free, to the temple of Parasuramesvarar at Tiruman- 
galam which is described as a brahmadeya in Meegooru of Kilaar 
kurram, a sub-division of Vadagarai Malanadu, by Parantakan 
Mahadevadigal alias Sembiyan Mahadeviyar, the mother of 
Uttama Chola for a perpetual lamp in the temple and for special 
sacred bath of the deity on certain specified days of the year 
(ARE 251 of 1929-30). There is an unfinished record of the 
thirtieth regnal year of Rajendra I found on the west wall of 
the central shrine, which registers an assignment of tax-free land 
by the assembly of Damodara-mangalam, a brahmadeya in Kalaar 
kurram, a sub-division of Rajasraya valanadu, to the temple 
of Parasuramisvaram Udaiya Paramesvarar of Tirumangalam, 
for offerings to the god Chandrasekhara devar and for a twilight 



I30 MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 

lamp in the temple in return for 20 kasus received by them. It 
also made provision for offerings to the God and Adavallar in 
the temple on certain specified days and for feeding devotees 
in the Paranjyoti matha on festival days by the uravar of Nagar 
in Kalaar kurram (there is a village by the name of Nagar even 
today about a kilometre from the village of Tirumangalam) 
(ARE 246 of 1929-30). An incomplete inscription of the days 
of Rajendra I records a gift of land to the temple by the assembly 
of Tirumangalam and it provided for the sacred bath of the 
deity for seven days from Revati in the month of Margali (ARE 
249 of 1929-30). On the west and south walls of the central 
shrine there is a third year record of Rajakesarivarman Vira 
Rajendra mentioning that the servants of the temple of Parasura- 
misvaram Udaiya Mahadevar at Tirumangalam, a brahmadeyam 
in Kalaar kurram, a sub-division of Rajasrava valanadu, agreed 
to burn a perpetual lamp in the temple, in return for the cows 
received by them from a certain Sembiyan Mulaiyurnattu Muven- 
davelan of Karukkangudi (ARE 247 of 1929-30) There are a 
number of later inscriptions.* 


* Later Inscriptions : The rest of the records belong to the Later Chola period. In an inscrip- 
tion on the north wall of the central shrine, relating to the 17th regnal year of Kulottunga I, 
mention is made of the assembly of Tirumangalam meeting in the temple of Tiruvaiyotti- 
yalvar in the village and transacting a sale of land to the temple (ARE 244 of 1929-30). In a 
46th year inscription of the same ruler, there is a record referring to a sale of land made tax free 
to the temple of Parasuramesvaram Udaiya Mahadevar by the assembly of Tirumangalam 
which met in the temple of Tiruvaiyottiyalvar (Rama). Here Kalaar kurram becomes a part 
of Ulagamulududai valanadu (ARE 252 of 1929-30). Later in Vikrama Chola’s days the 
valanadu is renamed Tribhuvanamulududai valanadu and a gift of land by purchase is 
made to the temple as arclianabhoga in the 14th year of this ruler (ARE 254 of 1929-30). In the 
days of Rajaraja II, certain residents of Tirumangalam in Kalaar kurram, said to be then in 
Ulagudai Mukkokkilanadi valanadu, sold a piece of land to the temple and also gifted another 
piece close by (ARE 243 of 1929-30). From an inscription dated in the sixth year of Rajadhiraja 
deva II, we get another name of the deity of the temple here; the Sivabrahmanas of the temple 
of Tiru-maluvudaiya Mahadevar received gold from a certain Atreyan Narayanan Yajna Bhattan 
and agreed to conduct some special worship on the new moon days (ARE 253 of 1929-30). 

From the only record of Tribhuvanachakravartin Rajarajadeva who should be identified 
with Rajaraja III, we get to know that one Ambalattaduvan Siramadevan alias Kalingarayan 
of Chandralekhai in Eyil nadu, a subdivision of Tenkarai Pandikulasani valanadu made a 
gift of land for offerings to the image of the Goddess Ulagudaiya Nayaki set up by him in the 
temple of Tirumaluvudaiya Nayanar at Tirumangalam, a brahmadeyam in Kalaar kurram in Vada- 
garai Rajaraja valanadu. Thus the Amman shrine in the temple came into being by about 
the year 1238 A.D. In fact, even today, the Amman retains Her original name with only a 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 1 3 1 

The temple is in a good state of preservation and the inscrip- 
tions and sculptures have not been ruined by the unholy hand 
of the modern renovator. It faces east. The garbhagriha measures 
a square of 5.85 ms to a side while the ardhamandapa projects 
4.20 ms forward measuring 5.10 ms across. There is a mukhaman- 
dapa in front which also serves as the snapana mandapa, measuring 
8.45 ms along the axis of the temple and 8.40 ms across. There 
are four finely carved pillars in the ardhamandapa while the mukha- 
mandapa has the support of four pillars of a different design. 

The devakoshta figures require special attention. On the walls 
of the garbhagriha, there are the usual images of Brahma in the 
north and Dakshinamurti in the south ; but in the rear (west) 
devakoshta, the image of Hariharar (Sankaranarayanar) is found, 
reminiscent of the temples of the days of Aditya I like Tiruverum- 
bur, Pachil Amalisvaram (Gopurapatti) and others ; even in the 
koshtas of the ardhamandapa, the striking feature is the presence 
of a Bhikshatanar figure in the south koshta where usually the 
image of Ganapati is found. We have noticed elsewhere that this 
feature is peculiar to the temples of the period of Aditya I. Both 
at Tiruvamattur [Early Chola Temples, p. 222) and at Viralur 
[Early Chola Art Part I, p. 56), Bhikshatanar occupies positions 
which it does not occupy in later periods (Pis 91-99). 

On these grounds it seems reasonable to infer that the temple 
was built in the days of Aditya I himself though epigraphs are 
found only from the fifth regnal year of Rajaraja I onwards. 

Another interesting feature of this temple is the presence of a 
series of three groups of sculpture panels in miniature correspond- 
ing to each pilaster ; one series is below the adhishthanam, in the 
upapitham ; the second group is found between the varimanam 
and the vari and the third is over the vari, all the miniatures placed 
along the alignment of the pilasters on the walls of the garbha- 
griha and the ardhamandapa ; there are as many as 84 of them 


minor variation, Loga Nayaki. The last record to be found in the temple relates to the Madhurai 
Nayaka days and is dated in Saka 1488 during the rule of Visvanatha Krishnappa Nayaka. 
The temple is now said to be located at TiruvirundamangalaTn in Kalaar kurram, a division of 
Kilapalaru in Rajaraja valanadu and a remission of water cess ( niraanikkam ) on the lands 
belonging to the temple is made for the merit of the king (ARE 255 of i 9 2 9 _ 3 0 )* 



132 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


though some of them in the south have been built into the floor. 
They depict scenes from the Puranas. 

There are no separate shrines for the ashta-parivara devatas , 
but Subrahmanyar, Ganapati and Gajalakshmi (the latter is 
modern) are found in cellas in the rear portion of the tiruch-churru- 
maligai. 

The temple is dvi-tala , the griva and the sikhara are octagonal. 

There are some fine metallic images, particularly of Soma- 
skandar, Tani- Amman and Chandrasekharar. Nataraja, found 
in a separate shrine in the north-eastern part of the temple, is 
datable to Rajendra I’s days (the Adavallar referred to in ARE, 
246 of 1929-30). Similarly the Chandrasekhara devar image 
(the Pradoshamurti) could be attributed to the same period. 

MADAGADIPATTU 

16 KUNDANKULI MAHADEVAR KOYIL 

The village of Madagadipattu lies about 24 kms from Pondi- 
cherry on the road to Villupuram. A few metres to the south of 
the main road, there is a tank and on its western bund is a vener- 
able temple called Kundankuli Mahadevar koyil. It was in a 
very dilapidated condition and P. Z. Pattabhiramin got the 
temple renovated on scientific lines.* 

It is an eka-tala stone temple ( karrali ). The garbhagriha rests 
on a high adhishthanam with many mouldings consisting of upanam, 
padmam,jagati and kumudam. The kapotam is decorated with kudus. 

There are only three devakoshtas in the garbhagriha and perhaps 
they had Dakshinamurti (?), Vishnu and Brahma. The French 
Institute of Indology, Pondicherry have preserved some of the 
images of this temple in their Museum. Among them are the 
fine figures of Ganapati and Durga (Pis 1 00-105). 

There is an ardhamandapa in front ; the garbhagriha is surmount- 
ed by the kodungai ( kapota ). The circular griva has devakoshtas, 

*A detailed account of this temple will be found in the “Quatre Vicux Temples” by P.Z 
Pattabhiramin. 

Revue Historique De L’ Inde Francaise, Pondicherry, 1948. 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA I’s TIME 


133 


and vimana-devatas are installed in each of them; each devakoshta 
has a finely wrought kudu ; the bell -shaped sikhara and the circular 
stupi are finely turned out. 

There are a few weather-beaten and fragmentary inscriptions ; 
from one of these we learn that this temple was raised by Raja- 
raja I. It reads as follows : “Sri Rajaraja devar eduppit-tarulina 
tiru-karraii” — “the stone temple raised by Sri Rajaraja devar” ; 
and Puri Bhattan is mentioned as the builder of this temple. 
The reading of the rest of the inscription is doubtful ; however, 
the name of the Lord of the temple could be gathered from it, 
which runs as follows : “Tiruk - Kundan - Kulach - C fieri Olukarai 
Mahadevan ”. The shape of the sikhara bears resemblance to those 
of Narttamalai, Arinjigai Isvaram of Melpadi and others all of 
which are of the days of Rajaraja I. 


MARAKKANAM 

BHUMISVARAR TEMPLE 17 

Marakkanam is now a small village on the eastern sea-coast 
about 37 kms (23 miles) east of Tindivanam, the taluk head- 
quarters and a railway station in South Arcot district. Some 
other important centres close by are Alattur, Olagapuram and 
Perumukkal. 

Around the beginning of the Christian era, it was one of 
the important sea-ports of the Indian peninsula. The Siru-pan- 
arruppadai, one of the ten Sangam anthologies, together called the 
Pattuppattu , mentions Eyirppattinam as one of the three important 
fortified cities in Oyma nadu, the region between modern Tindi- 
vanam and Marakkanam, ruled by the hero of the idyll, Nalli- 
yakodan, whose honour and glory was sung by the poet Nallur 
Nattattanar. In his The Periplus of the Erythrean Sea, a guide-book 
by an anonymous Alexandrian (Greek) merchant written about 
the first century a.d., the author mentions that on the east coast 
of South India, there were three market towns and harbours — 
Camara, Produca and Sopatna. It has been accepted that Camara 
can be identified with Kaberis of Ptolemy, i.e., Kaverippattinam 



i34 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


(or Pumpuhar) the ancient Chola capital of the Tamil Sangam 
period and that Produca or Poduka of Ptolemy may be identified 
with Puducherry. Next we have Sopatma or Sopatna, which 
may be equated with Eyirp-patnam (pattinam), the modern 
Marakkanam (see my article in the Quarterly Journal of the 
Mythic Society, XXI, 4, 1 93 1) . 

There is a fine temple in this village, dedicated to Bhumis- 
varar ; it is in a state of good repair and is of considerable interest 
to the student of art. We do not have any foundation inscription 
in this temple nor is it among those sung by the Nayanmars. 
There are, however, inscriptions of Rajaraja I and Rajendra I 
which throw considerable light on the temple. A record of the 
sixteenth year of Rajaraja I refers to a gift of a lamp to Bhum- 
isvara-nathar at Rajaraja-Peralam in Manakkanam, in Pattina 
nadu, a subdivision of Oyma nadu (ARE 23 of 1919). A seven- 
teenth year inscription mentions that an officer of Arasur, while 
stationed at Pattinam, regulated the expenditure of the temple 
of Bhumisvaradevar (ARE 28 of 1919). 

In the fourth year of Parakesarivarman Rajendra I (a. d. 1016) 
a gift was made of taxes due on a salt pan, for two lamps to be 
burnt in the Bhumisvaram Udaiyar temple at Manakkanam 
alias Rajaraja-Peralam (ARE 24 of 1919). In a record of the eighth 
year of this ruler (a.d. 1020), a gift was made of sheep and money 
for a lamp and offerings to Bhumisvaram Udaiya Mahadevar 
at Pattinam (ARE 29 of 1919). 

There is one record of Rajakesari Sri Vijaya Rajendra (Raja- 
dhiraja I) dated in his thirty-fifth year (a.d. 1053) referring to 
a sale of land for a flower garden to this temple by the sabha 
of Eyirppattinam in Pattina nadu, in Tambittunai-Chola 
valanadu in Jayangondasola mandalam (ARE 30 of 1919). 
A gift of land to this temple at Eyirppattinam alias Vikramasola 
chaturvedimangalam is mentioned in a fourth year inscription 
of Rajakesarivarman Kulottunga II (a.d. 1137). Evidently 
the village was renamed after the king in the days of his father 
Vikrama Chola (ARE 26 of 1919). A record of the sixteenth 
year of Kulottunga III is also found in this temple (ARE 33 
of 1919). 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 1 35 

There are inscriptions of the days of the Vijayanagara rulers 
also. In Saka 1421 (a.d. 1499), Marakkanam bore the alternate 
name of Gandaraditta-nallur in Pattina nadu, a sub-division of 
Oyma nadu alias Vijaya-Rajendrasola valanadu in Jayangonda- 
sola mandalam. 

From these inscriptions, we get a variety of names for this 
sea-port in ancient days. 

(i) Rajaraja-Peralam alias Manakkanam, in Pattina nadu, 
a subdivision of Oyma nadu. 

(ii) Pattinam in Pattina nadu, a part of Oyma nadu, 

(Hi) Eyirppattinam in Pattina nadu, in Tambittunai-chola 
valanadu, a sub-division of Jayangondasola mandalam. 

( iv ) Eyirppattinam alias Vikramasola-chaturvedimangalam, 

and 

(v) Marakkanam alias Gandaraditta-nallur in Pattina nadu 
in Oyma nadu alias Vijaya-Rajendrasola valanadu, a sub-division 
of Jayangondasola mandalam. 

Therefore, it is clear that the modern town of Marakkanam 
was originally known as Manakkanam, Pattinam and Eyirp- 
pattinam, that it was on the sea-coast, that it was a flourishing 
salt-producing centre and that the affairs of the town were 
managed by a sab ha. As it is called Eyirppattinam, it should have 
been a fortified sea-port (Eyil = wall of fortification). 

The temple, facing east, consists of a garbhagriha, an antarala, 
an ardhamandapa and a mukhamandapa. The garbhagriha is square 
5.66 ms (18' 7") to the side with rather plain walls on the sides 
with a single niche in the centre and relieved by six pilasters 
including the corner ones. The niche figures are Dakshina- 
murti in the south, Vishnu in the west and Brahma in the north. 

The outer walls of the ardhamandapa contain niches in which 
Bhikshatanar is found in the south and Durga in the north. Among 
the devakoshta figures, Bhikshatanar, Dakshinamurti, Vishnu 
and Durga are original sculptures and are of excellent work- 
manship. Brahma seems to be of a later period. Over each deva- 
koshta in the garbhagriha are found miniature figures of nandi 
in the south, simha in the west and hamsa in the north — being 
the mounts of Siva, Vishnu and Brahma respectively. 



136 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


The srivimana is in two tiers. The cornice in the first tier has a 
bhutagana frieze below and a yali frieze above it : the entablature 
in the first tier is decorated with four karna-kutas in the four 
corners and salas in the centre of each side. We have dik-palas 
on the kutas : Yama is in the nidha on the south. The second 
tala is, however, plain, with a cornice framing its top, above 
which runs a hamsa frieze ; the four corners are adorned with 
nandis. The griva is eight-sided with four niches in the four cardinal 
directions, the intervening space between the niches being covered 
with stucco sculptures. In the sala niches in the first tier as well 
as in the griva niches, the figures on the garbhagriha side-walls 
are repeated. While in the south wall the three figures are of 
Dakshinamurti, the figures in the north are : garbhagriha niche : 
Brahma ; sala niche : a Devi (probably Nisumbhasudani) ; 
griva niche : seated Brahma. In the west, there is Vishnu in the 
wall niche, Lakshmi-Narasimha in the sala niche, and Lakshmi 
in the griva niche. In the eastern griva, the image is that of 
Subrahmanyar. The sikhara which also has eight sides is of brick. 

There is a low-plinth pillared verandah ( tiruch-churru-maligai ) 
running all along the four sides of the central shrine. 

On the south-west corner of the verandah, there are beautiful 
bronzes of Somaskandar and Tani Amman. The former with 
the padma-pitham measures .70 m (27^) in height and .45 m (18") 
breadthwise. The sculpture of Siva is majestic, broad-chested 
and benign in expression. The Amman with the pitham measures 
.56 m (22") in height while Skandar in the middle is .25 m 
(10") tall. The bhadrasana on which the three icons are seated 
measures .14 m (5I") in height and .85 m (33$') in width. 
There is an aureola covering the three icons with 19 tongues of 
flame on each side with a bigger central flame. The Tani Amman 
is equally exquisite in workmanship, measuring a graceful .81 m 
(32 ) (with the pitham ), the Amman icon alone having a height 
of .67 m (26J'). With the tiruvasi, the total height is 1.02 ms (40^"). 
There are 12 tongues of flames to each side of the aureola. Both 
these metals are attributable to the period of Rajaraja I (Pis 
106 to 1 13). 

There is a mukhamandapa which is closed on all sides except 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 1 37 

the south, from which the main shrine is to be approached. Close 
to this entrance, inside the mukhamandapa , are some more bronzes 
of which the noteworthy ones are Nataraja, Kali, Chandrase- 
kharar and Amman. The Nataraja icon whose aureola has 19 
tongues of flame measures .79 m (31") in height and .69 m (27") 
in width, with a .38 m (15") padma and bhadra pithams. The 
Amman image measures .61 m (24") in height without the 
pitham which measures .15 m (6"). The aureola of the Amman 
is missing. The Kali figure standing in the abhanga pose has 
urdhvakesa (upturned hair), and holds the damaru, pasa, kapala 
and sula in the four hands. The Chandrasekharar figure is again 
a beautiful one. The Amman is a neat figure with the flower in 
the right hand, the other being held in the lola hasta style. 

We learn from the inscriptions of his days that salt pans were 
given as grants to the temple in the time of Rajaraja I. What is 
noteworthy is that even today, the temple continues to be in 
enjoyment of the lease of salt pans, deriving an annual income 
of about Rs. 20,000 from them. 

This temple in its present structure would be assignable to the 
period of Rajaraja I and contains some inscriptions in excellent calli- 
graphy and some bronzes of his period of exquisite workmanship. 

OLAGAPURAM 


SIVA TEMPLE (SRI KAILAYATTU 

PARAMASVAMIN) 18 

VISHNU TEMPLE (ARINJIGAI VINNAGAR) 19 

Olagapuram village lies about 3 kms south-east of the Tindi- 
vanam-Marakkanam road and is connected by a village track 
taking off in a southerly direction at the 16 km stone from Villu- 
puram. Alattur and Perumukkal are not far from here. The 
village derives its name from that of one of the queens of 
Rajaraja I, Loga Mahadevi who bore the alternate name of 
Danti Sakti Vitanki. During the Chola days it bore the name of 
Ologamadevipuram.* 


♦Ologamadevi and Ulogamadevi are the Tamil equivalents of Loka-mahadevi. 



138 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


There are two ancient temples in this village one dedicated 
to Vishnu, now called Devarava Perumal and the other to Siva, 
now called Kailasa temple. According to the inscriptions, the 
Siva temple was called the Kailasamudaiyar alias Arikulakesari- 
Isvaram Udaiyar temple and the Vishnu temple which is in the 
western outskirts of the present site of the village was called 
Arinjigai vinnagar. 

Siva temple 

This temple, which is now in the eastern part of the village 
is unfortunately in ruins. The earliest inscription here is engraved 
on the south wall of the central shrine and is dated in the third 
regnal year of Rajakesarivarman, who has to be identified with 
Rajaraja I. This inscription deals with an endowment of 96 
sheep for burning a perpetual lamp in the temple of Sri Kailayattu 
Paramasvamin of Ulogamadevipuram, a taniyur in Oyma nadu 
made by one Ambalavan Gandaradittanar, a nobleman of the 
days of Rajaraja I; we also learn that the same nobleman built 
this temple in stone. The relevant portion of the record reads 
as follows: 

Svasti sri: Kovirajakesarivarmarkku yandu 3 avada Oyma nattu 
taniyur Ulogamadevipurattu sri Kailayattu Paramasvamigalukku 
tirukkarrali yeduppitta udaiyar Perundarattu Ambalavan Gandaradit- 
tanar... nundavilakku onru... (ARE 129 of 1919). 

Thus this temple in its present structural form in stone can be 
attributed to the early years of this ruler. In another inscription 
from the same temple found on the south wall of the central 
shrine and dated in the seventh year of the king Rajaraja I, 
this chief again donates a flower garden to the temple (ARE 127 
of 1919). It records a sale of land by the Nagarattar (merchant 
guild) of Ulogamadevipuram to Gangan Ambalavanana Gandara- 
dittasola Villuparaiyan of Kuvalalam ( Kolar town in Karnataka 
State) in Gangarusayira (theGanga Six Thousand) province, who 
in turn endowed it for the flower garden. From an inscription 
in the Ananlisvarar temple at Udavargudi, we find a reference 
to the same nobleman from Kuvalalam who is said to have 
endowed over 19 vehs of land for feeding 56 brahmanas in the 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 


139 


said temple. The same officer or chief is said to have hailed 
from Kuvalalam and to have belonged to the perundaram of 
Mummadi Chola (Rajaraja I) named Ambalavan Paluvur 
Nakkan alias Vikramasola Maharajan. He built of stone the 
srivimana of the temple at Govindaputtur and endowed land for 
worship therein in the third year of the king (ARE 168 of 1928- 
29; also SII, XIII, 76). This chief figures largely in the reign 
of Uttama Chola under this title. In another record from the same 
place dated in the second year of Rajaraja I, he is mentioned 
with the title of Rajaraja Pallavaraiyan (ARE 175 of 1928-29; 
SII, XIII, 124). 

Thus this temple is a foundation of the early years of 
Rajaraja I and was already in existence by the third year of 
his reign (a.d. 988). 

From a late record of the Middle Chola period found in this 
temple we get to know that the deity of this temple was called 
Arikulakesari Isvaram Udaiyar; the temple was said to be situated 
in Ulogamadevipuram in Peraayur nadu, a subdivision of Oyma 
nadu; found on the south wall and belonging to the third year 
of Rajakesarivarman alias Udaiyar Sri Rajamahendra deva, 
beginning with the introduction r mam neeti murai valara’, it records 
the sale of land by the nagarattar of this village for being presented 
to the temple in order to meet the expenses connected with the 
shrine of Rajendrasola Vitankar built in it (ARE 130 of 1919). 

The temple is eka-tala and faces east; the garbhagriha is built 
of stone and the superstructure is of brick; the garbhagriha is a 
square of 5.60 ms side externally. The southern wall is intact 
but the western and northern walls have collapsed bringing down 
with them a part of the superstructure. The vertical face of the 
southern wall is divided into three vertical segments, by pilasters; 
while in the middle is the main devakoshta, housing a fine specimen 
of Dakshinamurti, there is asymmetry in the distribution of the 
niches, there being a niche to its east and none to its west. In 
the eastern niche is a beautifully carved figure of Bhikshatanar. 
Dakshinamurti is in the original devakoshta, while the image of 
Bhikshatanar appears to be a later insertion in an improvised 
niche. On the antarala wall, the southern niche where Ganapati 



140 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


should have been, is now empty and on the northern side, the 
niche houses an icon of Durga. This also appears to be a later 
insertion. In front of the garbhagriha is a mukhamandapa with an 
entrance from the southern side. 

The entire group of buildings was surrounded by a wall of 
enclosure 50 ms by 27.7 ms, of which only the plinth remains. 
Within the temple campus, there are the structural remains of 
three shrines, one in the north-west corner perhaps of Jyeshtha, 
another close to the mukhamandapa on its northern side housing 
Chandesar and a third shrine in the north-eastern side but adjoin- 
ing the eastern enclosure wall with the entrance facing west, 
where now a loose image of Surya is kept. The full complement 
of the ashtaparivara-devatas might have existed in the past. 

Vishnu Temple 

This temple renovated by local effort is situated in the western 
approaches to the village. The earliest inscription is found on 
the north-west and south walls of the central shrine and belongs 
to the third year of Parakesarivarman alias Rajendra Choladeva I ; 
it mentions that grants made in previous years but not regis- 
tered were now inscribed on the temple wall; they related to 
grants of lands for offerings and sribali to the temple of Arinjaya- 
Vinnagar-alvar in Loga Mahadevipuram in Peraayur nadu 
and in this connection we get references to local lakes called the 
Kalikantakap-/wm and the Gandaradittan-/wm (ARE 140 of 
1919). The other record of the same king refers to a palace 
woman belonging to Rajendrasoladevar Mummudisolat-terinda tiru- 
manjanattar velam (south wall of the central shrine, record dated 
in the twenty-fourth regnal of Rajendra I; ARE 142 of 1919). 
An inscription dated in the third regnal year of Rajamahendra 
gives information about the existence in this village of a Jaina 
temple called Sundarasolap-Perumpalli, named evidently after 
Sundara Chola and set up by Rajaraja I in memory of his father. 
One Samantabahu Acharya, a worshipper of the deity of this 
temple buys some land from the nagarattars of Ulogamadevipuram 
to present the same to the temple of Arinjigai-Vinnagar-Virri- 
runda- Alvar in order to meet its expenses (ARE 141 of 1919). 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA I*S TIME 


141 


From some other records we gather that in this township, there 
were other temples and shrines some of which were the temple 
of Komani-undaar, Gokarnisvaram Udaiya Mahadevar temple, 
and an Ayyanar temple called that of the Terkil- vasal- Mahasat- 
tanar; for the last mentioned temple the nagar attars of this town- 
ship made a gift of land for offerings, vide a record of Rajaraja I 
dated in his eleventh regnal year, found on a slab set up in 
front of the Ayyanar temple (ARE 144 of 1919). 

Under the inspiration of Logamahadevi, the chief queen of 
Rajaraja I were built at Ulogamadevipuram, a Siva temple 
called Arikulakesari-Isvaram and a Vishnu temple named Arin- 
jigai Vinnagar, both named after the names of Rajaraja Fs 
grand-father and a Jaina temple called after his father; this 
would demonstrate the catholic spirit of Logamahadevi, an 
echo of what we find at Dadapuram under the inspiration of 
Kundavai (Pis ii4to 118). 


AGARAM (SOUTH ARCOT) 

ABHIRAMESVARAR (EARLIER MAHA SASTA) 

TEMPLE 20 

Kayirur (now called Ayyur) Agaram is a village about 4 kms 
north-west of Villupuram town (South Arcot district), reached 
by a village track branching off from the Villupuram-Madras 
trunk road at the third km from Villupuram town. At the tenth 
km from this town on the same highway is the village of Chinta- 
mani Agaram, where there is a Later Chola temple, called Kulot- 
tunga-solisvaram. On the north wall of the Abhiramesvarar 
temple at Ayyur Agaram here, there is an inscription of the 
fifteenth year of Rajaraja I; this is the earliest of the inscriptions 
found on the walls of this temple and it registers a sale of land 
to the god Kayirur Ayyan alias Maha Sasta by Narayana Kali 
Kramavittan, son of Krishna Kramavittan of Verpuram, one 
of the managing members of the assembly of Nripatongach- 
chayantangi-chaturvedimangalam, a brahmadeya on the north 
bank of the river Pennai (Kaveri, mentioned in ARE 369 of 



142 MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 

1922, is obviously a mistake). Another record of the same year 
found on the east, north and west walls of the temple registers a 
sale of land by the same person to a certain Kaliyiragan for burning 
a perpetual lamp. Again in the same year, a sale of 39J kulis of 
land is made to Maha Sasta Kayirur Ayyan by a certain Naduvil 
Madhava Kramavittan, a managing member of the above 
assembly (ARE 374 of 1922). There are two records in the 
twentieth year of the king, one registering a gift of 96 sheep to 
the temple of Maha Sasta for a perpetual lamp by a shepherd 
of Sembaru in Emapperur nadu of Tirumunaippadi, a subdivision 
ofVadakarai Rajendrasimha valanadu, and the other registering 
a gift of land, by purchase, for offerings to the god by Somani 
Nagai Sard, wife of Yagna Kramavittan of Ettukkur (ARE 380 
of 1922). A record of the twenty-first year mentions the sale of 
land to god Maha Sasta by the assembly of Tirunarayanach- 
cherij under orders of the great assembly (ARE 377 of 1922). 
On the west wall of the temple is a twenty-second year record of 
Rajaraja I registering a resolution passed by the great assembly 
that met in the courtyard of Achchyutappiriya devar, setting 
apart a portion of the land belonging to Maha Sasta for burning 
a perpetual lamp (ARE 387 of 1922). In a sale of land registered 
in the twenty-fourth year, the deity is referred to as Maha Sasta 
alias Paramasvamigal and the names of two brothers Nimbai 
Narayana Bhattan and Damodara Kramavittan one of whom 
was a managing member of the assembly are mentioned (ARE 
371 of 1922). In the twenty-eighth year, provision is made for 
feeding in the temple five brahmanas versed in the Vedas (ARE 
378 of 1922). 

There are three important inscriptions of Rajendra I dated 
in his fifth, ninth and eleventh years. The first concerns a gift of 
half a lamp by a certain person on the death of his wife; the next 
one registers the deliberations of the members of the great 
assembly regarding the occupancy of the land belonging to the 
temple by artisans and others, assigning in return several kinds 
of services to be rendered by them, like conducting worship 
in the temple, supplying oil for lamps and keeping watch over 
the temple. The third one is found on a beam in the temple, 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 


143 


registering a grant of land for offerings and a perpetual lamp to 
Maha Sasta Kayirur Ayyanar by the great assembly of Nri- 
patonga-Sentangi-chaturvedimangalam alias Jananatha-chatur- 
vedimangalam, a brahmadeya of Jayangondasola mandalam who 
met in the Ayyanar temple (ARE 368 of 1922). 

The village was earlier known as Nripatonga-Jayantangi- 
chaturvedimangalam, and in the days of Rajaraja I came to be 
known as Jananatha-chaturvedimangalam, after one of the 
surnames of Rajaraja I, and was located in Vadakarai Rajendra- 
simha valanadu in Jayangondasola mandalam. 

This temple is evidently a foundation of the days of Rajaraja I 
and was in existence by the fourteenth year of his reign. It has 
no special architectual features. It has a sanctum, with an en- 
closed mandapa in front, both standing on a high adhishthanam. 
The central deity is still Sasta, though a replacement of the 
original Sasta sculpture (stone), which is now placed on a plat- 
form in the front mandapa. We do not know when and how the 
temple came to be called Abhiramesvarar temple. Even as late 
as the time of Bhupati Udaiyar of the Vijayanagara days (ARE 
388 of 1922) the temple continued to be called the Ayyanar 
temple. A Linga installed in the prakara perhaps justifies the 
Saiva name of Abhiramesvaram, now given to the temple. 

MAMBAKKAM 

MURU GES VAR AS VAMIN TEMPLE 21 

Mambakkam in Chingleput taluk of Chingleput district is 
about seven kms south of Kalattur (15 kms south of Chingleput 
town), which in turn is close to the railway station of Ottivakkam. 
In this village, there is a temple called Murugesvarasvamin 
temple. 

On the south wall of the central shrine, there is an inscription 
in which the name of the king is lost; from the introduction 
beginning with tirumagal pola, we can assign it to Rajaraja I. 
Dated in his twenty-sixth regnal year (a.d. ioii), it furnishes 
the information that the Siva temple at Mambakkam was 



144 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


constructed in the twenty-sixth year of the king by Murugan 
Kaliyan of Mambakkam in Kalvay nadu, a sub-division of Puli- 
yurkottam (ARE 19 of 1934-35; also ARE 1934-35, p. 49). The 
same benefactor seems to have donated sheep for a perpetual 
lamp to the deity of this temple, called here Muruga-Isvarattu 
Alvar, evidently named after the builder Murugan Kaliyan. 

EMAPPERUR 

VEDAPURISVARAR (TIRU-ALANDURAI-UDAIYA- 
22 PARAMASVAMIN) TEMPLE 

Emapperur is a village on the river Malattaru, a tributary 
that joins the Pennai river and is 24 kms south-west of Villupuram 
(reached via Arasur — see pp. 252-253 of my Early Chola Temples). 

The main deity of the temple here is known by the name of 
Vedapurisvarar, while the name referred to in the inscriptions 
is Tiru-Alanturai-Udaiya-Paramasvamin. Appar has referred 
to this temple, but has sung no exclusive hymn on it. 

This temple consists of the central shrine of Vedapurisvarar, 
a mandapa in front of it, a Ganesa shrine and a shrine for Amman. 
In addition there is the plinth of a subsidiary shrine, the walls 
and roof of which have collapsed. 

The mandapa walls contain certain records relating to Madirai 
konda Parakesari and Kannaradeva; a portion of one of these 
records has been built into the ardhamandapa walls, with the in- 
scribed surface inside the mandapa. But the central shrine contains 
a large number of records of the Middle Chola period, mostly 
of Rajaraja I. 

The earliest record is one of Parantaka I in his thirty-fifth 
year (a.d. 942) and relates to a gift of land by a private citizen 
of Kudupanjirrur, made for raising a flower garden and supplying 
daily a garland of six spans in length to the deity (ARE 527 of 
1921). Another record of his thirty-sixth year found on the south 
wall of the mandapa refers to a gift of gold by Korrulan Kamadi 
of Emapperur for a perpetual lamp. In this temple, there are 
two records dated in the twenty-third and twenty-seventh 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 


H5 


years of the Rashtrakuta king Krishna III (Kannaradeva), both 
relating to gifts; they are found on the south wall of the ardhaman- 
dapa; the latter mentions an officer of Emapperur by name 
Vanadarayan and relates to a.d. 967. There is a record of Pandi- 
yan talai konda kopparakesaripanmar, viz., Aditya II found on the 
jagatippadai of the adhishthanam (of the ardhamandapa) , which now 
serves the purpose of a step leading to the mandapa from the court- 
yard. 

The rest of the records are to be found on the main walls of 
the garbhagriha; the earliest record relates to the tenth year of 
Rajaraja I and refers to a gift of 192 sheep by Uttiramandiri 
Tangi Aruran of Manarrur in Vesalippadi for two perpetual 
lamps (ARE 522 of 1921). From a record of his fourteenth year, 
we get to know that Nandiputtan alias Sembiyan Muvendavelan, 
a chief of Panaippakkam made a gift of land for offerings and a 
lamp to the metallic images of Tribhuvana-sundarar (Tripuran- 
takar) and His Consort set up by the donor in the temple of Tiru- 
valandurai Alvar (ARE 523 of 1921). We do not know the fate 
of these metal images. In the same year, Paravai Nangai, the 
daughter of a servant of Rajaraja I, made a gift of 96 sheep for 
a perpetual lamp (ARE 520 of 1921). In his twenty-first year, 
a private individual of Paridipakkam made a gift of 96 sheep 
for a perpetual lamp. Paridipakkam is stated to be a suburb 
of Emapperur in Emapperur nadu, which was a sub-division 
of Tirumunaippadi alias Rajendrasimha valanadu (ARE 517 of 
1921). In his twenty-fifth year, a private individual of Emap- 
perur provided for the supply of four areca nuts, three times 
a day, to the god ; and in the same year, the daughter of the 
servant of Rajaraja I referred to earlier made another gift for 
burning a lamp in the month of Karttigai every year. There are 
two records of Rajaraja I relating to his twenty-seventh year, 
which deal with ( i ) the sale by the residents of Nalur, a village 
in Emapperur nadu, of some lands free of tax to the temple 
trustees of Tiruvalandurai-Udaiya Paramasvamin of Emap- 
perur, for certain offerings to the God thrice a day; (ii) a gift for 
the supply of paddy at the rate of one kuruni a day to the priest, 
for the expenses connected with two festivals in the months of 



146 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


Chittirai and Margali and for offerings of lamps, oil, and flower- 
garlands on these occasions (ARE 513, 514 of 1921). 

There is a record of the third regnal year of Rajendra Cholal 
(ARE 516 of 1921) referring to a gift of 96 sheep to the temple 
for a perpetual lamp. Round the base of the Ganesa shrine, there 
is a record of the thirteenth year, 207th day of a Konerinmai- 
kondan who is to be identified with Rajendra I, containing an 
order of Udaiyar Rajendra Chola devar “who was pleased to 
take Purvadesam and Gangai”, confiscating the lands of persons 
who had migrated without settling down in Tirumunaippadi 
nadu and granting them to those who settled down and culti- 
vated them on payment of taxes and to those who reared areca 
palms on them. 

The temple faces east; it is small and compact with an open 
court within a wall of enclosure; there is a gopuram, without a 
superstructure in the southern wall. The temple itself consists 
of the garbhagriha, the antarala and the ardhamandapa. From the 
open courtyard, the ardhamandapa is reached by a couple of steps 
flanked by sinuous low balustrades. The garbhagriha is a square 
of side 4.88 ms (15' 8^") externally; its wall is divided into three 
constituents, viz-, the central bhadra and the flanking karnas; 
the former is 2.10 ms (6' 10J") while the latter measure 1.09 ms 
(3' 7") in width each. There is a small recess between these 
elements measuring .25 ms (10") by .28 ms (n"); the antarala 
projects 3.23 ms (10' 7") forward and measures 2.56 ms (8' 5") 
by 2.27 ms (7' 5I") internally. The adhishthanam measures 
1.92 ms (6' 3I") while the wall and the pjrastara measure 2.13 ms 
(7'), making a total of 4.05 ms (13' 3") from the base to the top 
of the prastara: The temple is an eka-tala structure. It has an 
octogonal sikhara and a stupi, both later renovations. The ardha- 
mandapa measures externally 8.98 ms (27' 2|") by 6.40 ms (21') 
and 5.18 ms (17') by 4.34 ms (14' 3") internally. There are four 
supporting pillars of a later date inside the ardhamandapa. 

There are five niche figures: Bhikshatanar ison the antarala wall 
in the south; over the niche is a makara-torana with a kudu inset, 
the figure therein being a fine one of Ganesa; in the south, the 
niche figure on the garbhagriha wall is Dakshinamurti, with 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA I’s TIME 


147 


Yoga Dakshinamurti in the makara-torana kudu on top; in the rear 
(western) niche is a fine figure of Siva-Alingina-murti (with the 
bull-mount shown behind), the torana figure being Lingodbhavar; 
in the north koshta of the garbhagriha is Brahma with Gajasam- 
haramurti in the torana, and finally, in the north antarala koshta 
is Durga. 

At the back of the main shrine are three structures; one of 
them in the south-west, is a subshrine for Ganapati, another, of 
which only the plinth is left, should have been the subshrine 
of Subrahmanyar (being directly west of the garbhagriha) . The 
third one, in the north-west, presently houses the Amman, but 
should have originally housed Jyeshtha. The remaining members 
of the parivara alaya group must once have been there, but of 
the deities of these alayas, we have only Ganapati in his place; 
Subrahmanyar is kept in the Amman shrine, while Bhairavar 
is kept in the ardhamandapa ; there is no trace of the other deities. 
Ghandesvarar is in the original position, though the shrine has 
been renovated. The sculpture itself is old. The incomplete 
gopuram would appear to belong to the thirteenth century; it 
has a high adhishthanam with four pilasters similar to the ones 
we have on the garbhagriha walls, with kumbha-pancharas flanking 
a deep high niche with a sala type of design over the niche. 

The existence of the figure of Siva-Uma Alinginamurti 
in the rear devakoshta would seem to indicate that the temple 
came into existence even in the days of Aditya I. A parallel is 
to be found in the Vishamangalesvarar temple of Tudaiyur, 
where we have an identical arrangement of Siva and Parvati 
in the alingana (embracing) pose in the rear devakoshta (see my 
Early Chola Temples, pp. 218-219, 290 and 308, and pi 12 in the 
Supplement). 


BRAHMADESAM (SOUTH ARCOT) 

BRAHMAPURISVARAR TEMPLE 22 


Brahmadesam is in the Villupuram taluk of the South Arcot 
district, close to Ennayiram, Esalam and Dadapuram, all centres 



148 MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 

of antiquity; it is not to be confused with Brahmadesam in Chey- 
yar taluk of the North Arcot district. In fact there is yet another 
Brahmadesam near Tiruvalisvaram, not far from Ambasamudram 
in the Tirunelveli district. 

In ancient days, this place was a taniyur called Rajaraja- 
chaturvedimangalam. There are two temples in this place 
situated close to each other, viz., the Brahmesvarar and the Patalis- 
varar temples; they might have come into existence even in the 
days of Rajaraja I, along with the Ravikula-manikkesvaram 
and the Kundavai Vinnagar at Dadapuram and the earliest 
inscriptions found on the walls of the Brahmesvarar (Pirames- 
varar) temple are from the thirty-first regnal year of Kulottunga I 
onwards ( a . d . 1121) and the earliest in the case of the Patalis- 
varar temple is dated in the fourth year of Vira Rajendra ( a . d . 
1067). 

Here we are concerned with the former temple. It is about 
three kms from Nemur, which is on the nineteenth km-stone from 
Villupuram on the road to Ginjee. It is a venerable structure. 
The earliest inscription in this temple is that of Kulottunga I 
and related to a gift of 128 cows for burning four perpetual 
lamps. On the south wall, there is another inscription of the forty- 
first year of Kulottunga I (a.d. iiii— ARE 158 of 1918). 

It is stated that the king was residing in the temple of Rajaraja 
Vinnagar Alvar who was his tutelary deity, along with his 
subordinate ( maganar ) Adavallan alias Kulottungasola Muvenda- 
velan, who was the Governor of this region, extending over 
portions of North Arcot, South Arcot and Chingleput districts. 
The record mentions that the assembly of the great men of 
Rajaraja-chaturvedimangalam, a brahmadeya and taniyur in ... . 
(Panai)yur nadu, a subdivision of Gangaikondasola valanadu 
purchased, in the name of Brahmapurisvaram Udaiya Mahadevar, 
some land in Panaiyur, a southern hamlet of the village. The 
reference to the Rajaraja Vinnagar Alvar as the tutelary deity 
of the king would dispel the doubts raised by some scholars that 
Kulottunga I was a persecutor of Vaishnavism.* In fact, the 


*See Tribhuvani, Ch.6, Note 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 


149 


Cholas have been very catholic in their attitude to other religions. 
The inscription further says that the king performed devapratishthai 
(building of temples and consecration of deities) and jalapratish- 
thai (digging of tanks and channels for water supply) “to protect 
the good and punish the wicked”. 

There are two inscriptions of Vikrama Chola; one which 
is incomplete attests the king’s religious tolerance as in the case 
of Kulottunga I, and the other, found on the wall of the kitchen, 
mentions that the kitchen was built during his days and was 
named Vikrama Gholan (ARE 160 and 182 of 1928).! 

fa few later inscriptions: An inscription of Kulottunga II (Anapaya) refers to the exemption 
from taxes in respect of devadana lands belonging to the Brahmesvaram Udaiya Mahadevar 
temple and the lands gifted to the Rajanarayana matham situated within that temple and these 
lands were clubbed together to form a new village called Kulottunga-Cholanallur (are 179, 
180 and 181 of 1918). 

There are seven inscriptions which can be ascribed to Kulottunga II. One of them refers to 
a gift of land in Nerkuppai, the northern hamlet of the city, for worship and the celebration 
of the processional festival of the deity. Mention is made of the construction of the second tiru- 
maligai (wall of enclosure with gopuram) by a chief called Ammaiyappan Gandarasuriyan alias 
Sambuvarayan in the eighteenth year of the king (are j 83 of 1918). The same Chief is referred 
to in a second year inscription of Kulottunga III at Tiruvakkarai as the builder of the hundred 
pillared hall there (are 190 and 195 of 1904). In another inscription of the fourth year, there 
figures a royal officer who was a Sambuvarayan chief, called Ammaiyappan Pandinadukondan 
alias Rajaraja Sambuvarayan. He is said to have utilised the gold of two todus (ear-drops) for 
various services to the deity (are 167 of 1918). 

Another gift of a lamp to this temple was made in the thirteenth year of Rajaraja (II). 
Another inscription of the same reign mentions a gift of 40 lamps to the two temples of Brahme- 
svaram and Patalisvaram. 

That these two names apply to the same chief, of the Sengeni family, who participated in the 
Pandyan wars and won the title of Pandinadu kondan is confirmed by an inscription in En- 
nayiram (are 345 of 1917) relating to the 6th year of Virarajendra deva (Kulottunga III) 
which mentions that Ammaiyappan Pandinadu kondan Gandan Suriyan alias Rajaraja Sambu- 
varayan, also constructed a mandapa in front of the Alagiya Narasimha Perumal temple at En- 
nayiram. 

There are two inscriptions of the later Pallava king Kopperunjinga (are 164 of 1918; are 
170 of 1918). 

The Pandya conquest of this region is evident from two inscriptions, one of Vikrama 
Pandya deva, which mentions a gift of land for worship and offerings at the sandhi called Kula- 
sekharan sandhi (are 174 of 1918) and another called Kodandaraman sandhi (fourteenth 
century a.d.?). In the latter half of the fifteenth century, a gift of land for worship and offerings 
is recorded in the days of the Vijayanagara ruler Saluva Narasinga Maharaja (Saka 1392 = a.d. 

1 470) to both the local temples of Brahmesvaram and Patalisvaram. At the end of the fifteenth 
century or early sixteenth century, during the time of the son of Virapratapa Devaraya Maha- 
raja, one Aram-valartta Nayanar, a member of the Kaikolar community, petitioned to Kanga- 
rayar and got the right to use the high pillow ( dandu ) and the couch as in vogue in Kanchi, 
Virinchipuram and Tiruvadi(gai)? thus eliminating some of the social disabilities they suffered 
from (are 162 of 1918). 



15O MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 

The temple lies in the north-western corner of the village and 
there is an enormous lake to the north of it. The temple has two 
prakaras. The central shrine consists of the garbhagriha and the 
antarala with an ardhamandapa in front. The central bays of the 
three walls of the garbhagriha project forward and contain niches 
in which are housed Dakshinamurti in the south, Lingodbhavar 
in the west and Brahma in the north ; on the flanks of the antarala 
walls, we have Ganapati in the south and Durga in the north. 
There is a circumambulatory passage with a pillared peristyle 
( tiruch-churru-maligai ) running all along the wall of enclosure. 
On the eastern face of the ardhamandapa wall, there are two fine 
stone sculptures of Subrahmanyar and standing Ganapati, one 
on either side of the doorway leading from the prakara to the 
ardhamandapa, which is supported by four pillars in the middle. 
In front of the ardhamandapa, and, in alignment with it, is a mani- 
mandapa. Ahead of it is the bali-pitham. Further to the east is a 
multi-pillared mandapa covering the entire distance from the 
northern wall to the southern with the eastern wall forming the 
third side. The southern portion of this hall has been converted 
into the kitchen, named Vikrama Cholan. The outer wall and 
the gopuram in the east were built by Ammaiyappan Gandara 
Suriyan alias Sambuvarayan. 

ENNAYIRAM 

ALAGIYA NARASIMHA PERUMAL (RAJARAJA 
24 VINNAGAR) TEMPLE 

I he area formed by the triangle joining Villupuram, Tin- 
divanam and Ginjee would appear to have constituted roughly 
the taniyur of Rajaraja-chaturvedimangalam with a large number 
of hamlets known as ‘pidagais’. This taniyur has played a very 
important part in the days of the Middle Cholas, for we find a 
concentration of some of the finest temples of this period in 
this region. Such for example are Brahmadesam, Esalam, Enna- 
yiram and Dadapuram among others. All these centres are 
close together; in lact, the first three centres mentioned are 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 151 

within a distance of three kms from one another and the last 
mentioned is about 15 kms from this group of villages. 

Ennayiram is about five kms from Nemur, a village at the 
nineteenth km stone from Villupuram on the Villupuram- 
Ginjee road. Brahmadesam and Esalam are within three kilo- 
metres of Ennayiram. The famous Pallava cave temple at 
Mandagappattu is also not far from here, being on the main 
Villupuram-Ginjee road at the twentieth km stone, set in 
picturesque surroundings. 

An insignificant village today, Ennayiram was the hub of 
considerable activity during the Middle Chola period and re- 
ceived the royal attention of Rajaraja I, his son and grandsons. 
The temple at Ennayiram known as Alagiya Narasimha Perumal 
temple has some valuable inscriptions that throw light on the 
administrative arrangements that existed then; and there is 
one record in particular that gives us valuable details about a 
Vedic College and a hostel run in the campus of the temple. 

Ennayiram was a taniyur as well as a brahmadeyam and was 
perhaps the focal point of the area. An inscription dated in the 
twenty-fifth year, 112th day of Rajendra I (a.d. 1036), found 
on the west and south walls of the central shrine of Alagiya 
Narasimha Perumal temple (ARE 335 of 1917), mentions 
that on the order of the king Rajendra I, the assembly of Rajaraja- 
chaturvedimangalam in Rajaraja valanadu, met in the hall 
called Mummudi-sola mandapam under the chairmanship of 
Nambi-udattur Udaiyar, who administered the village, and 
made arrangements ( vyavastha ) regarding the allocation of 
the income derived from lands belonging to a number of temples, 
and set apart the quantities for various services in these temples. 

Among the temples mentioned in this record are those of 
(i) Sri Mulasthanam Udaiyar, iii) Rajaraja vinnagar alvar, 
(in) Kundavai vinnagar alvar and (iv) Sundara Chola vinnagar 
alvar. Among the deities mentioned in this regard are (i) 
Devendra, (ii) Sarasvati, (Hi) Sri Bhattaraki, (iv) Mahamodi, 
(v) Surya devar, (vi) Durga, (vii) Subrahmanyar, (viii) Jyeshtha, 
(ix) the Devas of the cherts (the grama-devatas) , Sapamatris, 
Mahasasta and (x) Singavelkunralvar. 



152 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


Among the four temples mentioned, the Rajaraja vinnagar 
should refer to the modern Alagiva Narasimha Perumal temple 
at Ennayiram and the Kundavai vinnagar to the Kari Varada 
Perumal temple at Dadapuram; the deities mentioned are 
devakoskta devatas, ashta-parivara-devatas and the grama-devatas in 
the taniyur which included Ennayiram, Brahmadesam and 
Dadapuram. It has to be mentioned in this connection that a 
sixteenth century Vijayanagara inscription of Sadasiva Maharaja 
(Saka 1467 = a.d. 1545) says that this Alagiya Narasinga Peru- 
mal temple was situated in the centre of 24 sacred shrines (tiru 
murrain) of Ennayiram (ARE 338 of 1918). 

An inscription of the thirtieth year of Rajendra I refers to 
a gift of land by the assembly of Rajaraja-chaturvedimangalam 
for the festival of Chittirai-Sadaiyam (which was the natal star 
of Rajaraja I), and Masi Punarpusam, for Raghava-Chakravartin 
(Sri Rama) in the temple of Rajaraja vinnagar alvar. The 
assembly is said to have met in the temple of Rajaraja-Isvaram- 
Udaiyar. Gould this possibly refer to the Brahmapurisvarar 
temple at Brahmadesam which was rebuilt by Kulottunga I 
and his successors ?. If so, the temple of Mulasthanam Udaiyar 
referred to in the ARE 335 of 1917 in the list of temples could 
also refer to this temple at Brahmadesam. 

A very important and interesting inscription found in the 
Alagiya Narasimha Perumal temple (ARE 333 of 1917), belongs 
to Rajendra I; the date of the inscription is unfortunately so 
completely effaced that it is difficult to make it out, but, based 
on the conquests mentioned therein, it cannot be earlier than 
a.d. 1023. By the king’s order, 45 velis of land in Anangur alias 
Rajarajanallur was given to Rajaraja Vinnagar (Alagiyasinga 
Perumal temple) by the mahasabha of the taniyur of Rajaraja- 
chaturvedimangalam (Ennayiram) for offerings, festivals, the 
recitation of Tiruvaymoli, the maintenance of an institution of 
higher learning for teaching the Vedas, Vyakarana, Mimamsa 
and Vedanta. 

On the walls of the central shrine, there is an inscription 
of the thirtieth year of Rajadhiraja I (ARE 330 of 1917). 
According to it, the Perunguri (the great assembly) of 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA I’s TIME 


153 


the taniyur of Rajaraja-chaturvedimangalam, a brahmadeyam 
in Panaiyur nadu included in Rajendra Chola valanadu, 
met in the mandapa called Mummadi-solan with Alagan Virri- 
randan alias Mummadi-solan with Ala Nripendra-sola Muven- 
davelar, the governor of the region as its President, and ordered 
the lands of the temple of Tiruvayppadi devar to be taxed at 
the lowest scale (kadai-taram ) , as were those of Rajaraja vinnagar 
devar (Alagiya Narasinga Perumal temple) and, Kundavai 
vinnagar devar (Kari Varada Perumal temple) at Dadapuram. 
The order of the king is said to have been passed on to the Assem- 
bly three years later (a case of bureaucratic delay?). 

The importance of the temple did not diminish even in the 
Later Chola period. f 


tThere are seven inscriptions which are assignable to the reign of Kulottunga I (ARE 340, 
344, 348, 349, 347, 350 and 351 of 1917). The first, of his seventh regnal year, mentions a gift of 
10 cows for a lamp to the temple of Rajaraja Vinnagar Alvar at Rajaraja-chaturvedimangalam 
by Ulagalandan Tiruvarangadevan of Kulattur, evidently the officer entrusted with the work 
of land survey. One relating to his thirty-eighth year, fiftieth day records a settlement ( vyavastha ) 
regarding a gift of land to the temple of Sri Vaikuntattalvar at Araisur in Tirumunaippadi 
nadu. The assembly is said to have met in the temple of Rajaraja Vinnagar Alvar at Rajaraja- 
chaturvedimangalam. 

His inscription of the thirty-ninth year, fiftieth day deserves special attention as it refers to 
an act of piety by the royalty for the general weal of the people. At the instance of the king, the 
assembly of Rajaraja-chaturvedimangalam, in Panaiyur nadu, in company with (presided over 
by ?) prince Kulottunga-Sola Muvendavelar, the headman of Sembiyan Puliyur Verkadu in 
Puliyur kottam, performed the consecration ceremony of the god ( deyvapratishthai ) and made avail- 
able water sources ( jala-pratishthai- tanks) for the spiritual merit of the king and for the destruc- 
tion of the wicked and the promotion of the prosperity of the good and made certain gifts of 
land in Anangur. 

This was not the first time that such a provision was made. As early as the reign of Rajendra I 
(ARE 333 of 1917), we have a similar act of devotion and piety, and a grant is said to have 
been made to the “Paramasvamin (Lord) who was pleased to stand with a fierce aspect” (Ugra- 
Narasimha?) in the temple of Rajaraja Vinnagar. This is again repeated in an inscription at 
Brahmadesam which relates to the forty-first year of Kulottunga I (ARE 158 of 1918). It is 
stated that the king was residing at that time in the temple of Rajaraja Vinnagar Alvar, the 
king’s tutelary deity and he is said to have performed deyvapratishthai and jala-paratishthai. 

It has to be remembered that this region round about Ennayiram was a frontier area, formerly 
the home of the Banas and the Gangas. About this time in the reign of Kulottunga I, the Hoysalas 
in Karnataka rose to prominence and wrested Talakkad and Gangavadi (Eastern Mysore 
region) from the Cholas; happenings in Kalinga were also ominous and about to lead to the 
second Kalinga war. It may be that the king wanted to propitiate God by promoting works 
of social well-being and invoking the blessings of Narasimha of the fierce aspect to ensure 
success for his arms and to suppress the unruly elements in the region. 

The next important inscription is one of the eleventh year of Rajarajadeva (II). At the order 
of the king, the assembly of Rajaraja-chaturvedimangalam gave to a private person, as janmakkani, 



i54 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


Though in a state of considerable disrepair, the temple stands 
out as a grand edifice in the sky line as one approaches this 
village via a tortuous country track. It faces east and consists 
of a garbhagriha, an antarala, an ardhamandapa , a mukhamandapa 
and an agramandapa. The first three elements constitute one 
structural unit, being the original foundation. The other mandapas 
are later additions. What distinguishes this temple from the 
others in the neighbourhood is the dignified height that is im- 
parted to the entire structure by the three foot high platform over 
which the temple stands. Besides, the tiruch-churru-maligai is simi- 
larly on a platform of the same height. The platform is not a 
mere rectangle but has central projections into the circum- 
ambulatory passage on the two sides and the rear of the garbhagnha. 
These projections, three in number, are of the same height as the 
rest of the platform and function as the landing for a pair of 
flights of steps leading up to them from the prakara floor ; to add 
compactness to the entire structure, these flights of steps cling 
to the sides of the main platform without intruding into the 
prakara space. In alignment with these projecting platform elements 
are three chambers on the three walls of the garbhagriha, making 
use of the space between the antara-bhitti and the bahya-bhitti. 
Unlike in the Rajarajesvaram temple at Tanjavur where this 
space has been utilised as a vestibule round the sanctum, here each 
of the three portions is sealed off from the adjoining portion, thus 
giving rise to separate chambers. They might have once housed 


the village of Nannaderpakkam alias Vikraina-Chola-nallur, which was a devaiana of Tiruvira- 
mesvaram Udaiyar at Eydar, now called Esalam, a hamlet of Rajaraja-chaturvedimangalam 
(ARE 326 of 1917). 

An inscription of the sixth year of Tribhuvanachakravartin Vira Rajendradeva (i.e., Kulot- 
tunga III) mentions the construction of a mandapa in front of the Alagiya-Narasimha-Perumal 
temple by Ammaiyappan Pandi nadu Kondan Gandan Suriyan alias Rajaraja Sambuvarayan, 
whose extensive building activities in this region we see at Tiruvakkarai and Brahmadesam 
(ARE 345 of 1917;. 

Under the orders, dated in Saka 1467 (a.d. 1545), of Surappa Nayakka Ayya, the local 
Chief of Sadasiva Maharaja of Vijayanagara, provision was made for betel leaf offerings to the 
Lord of this temple (ARE 332 of 1917). Another Vijayanagara inscription (ARE 338 of 1917) 
also dated in Saka 1467 (a.d. 1545J mentions that one Sri Rangarajar Pillai was the Treasurer 
and Manager of this temple, which was situated “in the centre of the twenty four shrines 
\liru-murram) of Ennayiram, which was a taniyur in Panaiyur nadu in Rajaraja valanadu in 
the district of Palakunrak-kottam in Jayangondasola mandalam. 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 


155 


three massive images akin to the devakoshta figures of a Vishnu 
temple, but today they are empty. The temple is of stone only 
upto the top of the adhishthanam which is 1.22 ms (4') in height; 
above it, it is all brick work. 

Like the Ramasvamin temple at Seramadevi, in Tirunel- 
veli district, the superstructure over the mulasthana of this temple 
is divided into two floors, one meant to house the sitting and 
the other the reclining Vishnu ; the chambers are, however, 
empty. 

The mahamandapa is a vast hall supported by fifty pillars 
arranged in five rows of ten pillars each ; and ahead of it, further 
east, is the agramandapa. There are a garuda mandapa , a bali-pitha 
and a dhvajastambha in that order in front of the temple. 

There is a very fine figure of Narasimhamurti in the 
mukhamandapa (north-west corner). Could it have been the main 
deity in the past? Today, the deity of the mulasthana is a standing 
figure of Narasimha. 

It is sad to contemplate that this temple of such rich asso- 
ciations and such architectural beauty is now a dilapidated 
structure, almost in a state of collapse. Before it is too late, 
this temple requires to be taken up for preservation (Pis 119 
to i2o). ++ 


F+ Vedic College : According to the inscription of Rajendra I, relating to the setting up of a 
Vedic College in the temple premises (ARE 333 of 1917), the assembly made the following pro- 
visions among others : 

(i) Four persons were appointed for the recitation of Tiruvaymoli hymns in the temple 
and they were allowed three kurunis of paddy each per day. To meet this charge, land 
at Anangur alias Rajarajanallur measuring half a veil and two ma in extent was given. 

( ii ) For feeding twenty-five Sri-Vaishnavas in the matha attached to the same temple, one 
veil and four ma of land in the same place were allotted. 

(tit) Sixty kalams of paddy and three kalanjus of gold were also provided for the seven-day 
festival of Ani-Anulam in order to feed one thousand Vaishnavas and dasas (devotees) 
who came to witness it. 

(io) Half a veil and two ma of land and some gold were given to meet the cost of taking 
the god in procession round the village, in a car; for the grant of clothes to the mendi- 
cants on the occasion; for purchasing cloth to be put on the deity; for offerings, bath 
and garlands; for performing certain ceremonies etc. 

The following students were fed in the Gangaikondasolan-manrfa/ia : 

(a) 75 studying the Rig -Veda 

(£) 75 studying the Tajur-Veda 

( c ) 20 studying the Chandoga-Sama 



J5 6 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


(d) 20 studying the Talavakara-Sama 

(e) 20 studying the Vajasaneya 

(/) io studying the Albania 

(g) io studying the Baudhayaniya Grihya-kalpa and Gana, 

thus making a total of 230 brahmacharins for studying the above-mentioned (apurvam) Vedas 
which, with the 40 persons learning the Rupavatara , came to 270. Six nalis of paddy were allotted 
for each of these per day. 

Further there were: 

(h) 25 learning the Vyakarana 

(«) 35 learning the Prabhakara, and 

(j) 10 persons learning the Vedanta. 

For these 70 pupils ( sattirar J who learnt the ottu (Vedas), provision was made at the rate of one 
kuruni and two nalis of paddy each per day. 

One kalam of paddy was given to the nambi who expounded the Vyakarana, one kalam to 
another who expounded the Prabhakara and one kalam and one tuni to the third who expounded 
the Vedanta. 

Ten professors were appointed to teach the Vedas as detailed below: 

Three to teach the Rig- Veda 
Three to teach the Tajur- Veda 
One to teach the Chandoga 
One to teach the Talavakara Sama 

One to teach the Vajasaneya (i) ( Tajnavalkya’s recension of the Tajur Veda ) 

One to teach the Baudhayaniya grihya and kalpa and Kathaka 

1 he teacher who expounded the Rupavatara got three kurunis of paddy a day. Thus, for a 
day, 30 kalams of paddy measured by the Rajaraja-marakkal were required. The annual 
requirements came to 10,506 kalams of paddy. The gold required for expenses was as follows:- 
8 kalanjus of gold to the professor of Vyakarana for expounding 8 adhyayas at one kalanju 
per adhyaya, 

12 kalanjus to. . . forexpounding 12 adhyayas at one kalanju per adhyaya, 

6£ kalanjus to the 13 professors who taught Vedas and to the one who expounded the Rupa- 
vatara at half a kalanju each, and 

35 kalanjus at half a kalanju each, to the 70 pupils (sattirar) who learnt the Vyakarana and the 
Mimamsa. 

Thus, in all, for the 6 1 J kalanjus of gold and the paddy that were required, the temple was 
put in possession of 45 velis of land situated in Mambakkachcheri alias Pavittira-manikka-nallur 
forming part of Anangur alias Rajarajanallur and Melakkudalur alias Purusha-narayana-nallur. 

King Rajendra Choladcva I, having thus directed the assembly of Rajaraja-chaturvedi- 
mangalam, ordered, in the presence of Kali Ekamranar, the head of the village, that they 
should not show in the account books, any more taxes than 1/16 ma and one padakku against the 
persons residing in the said two villages and cultivating the 45 velis of land, and this they pro- 
mised to do under solemn oaths. 

This inscription is of great importance to us as it shows clearly that in ancient temples not 
only was the regular conduct of worship maintained but also the study of the Vedas, philoso- 
phy, grammar and other sciences was encouraged by munificent royal grants. Gifts made for 
such purposes as these were known as Vedavritti and Adhyayananga. In some cases, provision was 
made for feeding a few persons versed in the Vedas, and Apurvins. 

The hostel attached to the temple at Ennayiram seems to have fed not only teachers 
and students of the Vedic College but other men as well. One of the records (ARE 343 
of 1917) refers to the maintenance of a hostel, presumably attached to the college. Here 
provision was made for feeding 506 learned men among whom were Vedic scholars and 
Sri Vaishnavas. This number might have included the 350 attached to the college. 
The rest must have included those who sang the Tiruppadiyam, who formed the goshti, 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 


157 

ESALAM 


VALISVARAR TEMPLE (TIRUVIRAMESVARAM) 25 

While dealing with Eimayiram, we have mentioned how 
Dadapuram, Brahmadesam, Esalam and Ennayiram consti- 
tuted something of a regional unit, all coming within the juris- 
diction of the taniyur of Rajaraja-chaturvedimangalam. Esalam, 
Ennayiram and Brahmadesam are within a distance of three 
kms from one another and are about seven kms from the nine- 
teenth km-stone on the Villupuram-Ginjee road (Nemur). 
The Esalam temple is in a state of good repair. 

There are two inscriptions found on the walls of the temples 
in the neighbourhood, which refer to this temple, (i) One of 
them is an inscription of the eleventh year of Parakesarivarman 
alias Tribhuvanachakravartin Rajarajadeva (II?) found in the 
Alagiya Narasimha Perumal temple at Ennayiram. It mentions 
that at the order of the king, the assembly of Rajaraja-chatur- 
vedimangalam in Rajaraja valanadu made over the village 
of Nannaderpakkam alias Vikramasolanallur, which is said 
to have been a devadanam of Tiruviramesvaram Udaiyar at Eydar, 
a hamlet of this city, to a person of Vanchiyur and his descend - 


who recited the Tiruppugal and who uttered Sadyajnam. As jatakadakshina on the day of 
Jayantyashtami (the birthday) of Vennai kuttar (Krishna), it is stated, those brahmanas who 
completed the study of the Rig, Tajur and Sama Vedas should receive a gold flower and a gold 
ring. On the merchant class which received money from the markets devolved the duty of 
supplying well-husked rice which they were enjoined to bring to the hostel and measure out at 
the rate of two to five of paddy for (feeding?) the inmates. The great men in charge of the 
urvariyam (the village Supervision Committee) had to look after the daily supply of firewood 
required for the hostel. The brahmana and Valanjiya merchants who traded in the south bazaar 
were given a certain amount of money and they agreed to supply sugar and other articles in 
lieu of the interest on the sum lent. And it is further added that the excess of ghee, milk and 
curds that remained after meeting the requirements of the temple should be made over to the 
hostel. 

There is a reference to a similar feeding house, but in a much smaller scale in ARE 323 of 
1917 which comes from Panaiyavaram. Here provision is made for conducting a hostel ( salai ) 
which fed daily 50 brahmanas and 1 o Sivayogins who were also given oil for bathing. The 
same inscription further provides for a teacher of a free school ( dharma-palli ) and for maintain- 
ing three water-sheds, one in front of the temple of Paravai Isvaramudaiyar, another in front 
of the mandapa of Rajendrasolan and the third in front of the temple of Rajendrasola Vinnagar 
Alvar. For rendering service in the hostel and the water sheds, brahmacharins were appointed. 



i 5 8 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


ants as a janmakani (ARE 336 of 1917). («) The other inscrip- 
tion, in the Patalisvaram temple at Brahmadesam close by, 
relating to the seventh year of Kulottunga deva I, mentions 
Eydari as a southern hamlet of Rajaraja-chaturvedimangalam 
in Panaiyurnadu (ARE 190 of 1918). We should have no diffi- 
culty in identifying this Eydari with Eydar (i.e. Esalam) of the 
inscription mentioned above. 

According to an inscription found close to the Dakshina- 
murti figure on the base of the south wall of the Valisvarar temple 
here, the deity is called Tiruviramadevar (i.e., Tiru-Irames- 
varar). The following is the extract: 

“na?n brahmasthanam gangaikonda-solaniley koodi irundu . . . Udai- 
yar Rajendrasola devar Kurukkal Soma Siva Panditar nammoor 
Eydar tiruvirama-devarkku . . . tiru amirdukku ...” 

This record gives us the name of the deity as Tiru-Irama 
devar. 

This temple is not the only instance of its kind where the 
original name of the deity of Tiru-Iramesvarar got distorted 
into Tiru-valisvarar, in course of time. Such an example could 
be found at Arppakkam, where the deity is referred to in in- 
scriptions as Tiruviramesvarar, but the present day name is 
Valisvarar; so too at Tiruvalisvaram near Ambasamudram in 
Tirunelveli district. These temples are dedicated to Siva who 
was worshipped by Rama. Hence the name Tiru-Irama-Isvaram. 
There is a similar temple in Nannilam taluk called Tiru-Rama- 
nathisvaram. 

The temple faces east and consists of a garbhagriha and an 
ardhamandapa. It is an eka-tala structure. There are three deva- 
koshtas on the three outer walls of the garbhagriha ; there is a 
bhutagana frieze below the cornice ( kodungai ) and a yali frieze 
above it. The yalis of the latter frieze are interspersed with fro- 
licking ganas. In the entablature there are neither salas nor kutas. 
There is a bell-shaped sikhara and a round stupi over the griva, 
which has griva-koshtas taking ofif from the yali frieze. The entire 
structure is in stone, and the sikhara closely resembles those of 
Kadambavanesvarar temple at Narttamalai, the Madagadippattu 
temple and the Arinjigai-Isvaram at Melpadi. 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 


159 


The adhishthanam measures 0.92 m (3') in height from the 
ground while the wall of the garbhagriha measures 3.12 ms (10 '3"). 
The garbhagriha walls are divided into three vertical compo- 
nents. The garbhagriha measures 4.88 ms (16') square. The 
ardhamandapa projects 5.61 ms (18' 5") forward. 

There are five devakoshta figures, viz., Ganapati and Vinadhara 
Dakshinamurti in the south, Vishnu in the west, and Brahma 
and Durga in the north. (Pis 121 to 125). 

This temple should have come into existence in the days 
of Rajaraja I along with the various other temples in the neigh- 
bourhood. 


DADAPURAM 

MANIKANTESVARAR (IRAVIKULA-MANIKKES- 

VARAM) TEMPLE 26 

Next to Sembiyan Mahadevi, whose magnificent philanthropy 
in the field of temple building activities is well known, Kundavai, 
the elder sister of Rajaraja I, holds an honoured place among 
the Chola queens. She should be distinguished from Kundavai, 
the daughter of Rajaraja I, and another of the same name, the 
younger sister ( tirut-tangaiyar ) of the Later Chola king, Kulot- 
tunga I. She is described as the daughter of Ponmaligai tunjiya 
devar (i. e., Parantaka II alias Sundara Chola), the elder sister 
of Rajaraja I ( akkan , as she is called in his inscriptions) and the 
wife of Vallavaraya Vandya Devar, the chief of the Samantas 
of Rajaraja I. Her great filial devotion is seen from the fact that 
she is credited with the making of metallic images of her parents 
and presenting them to the temple built by her brother at Tanja- 
vur. Her philanthropy was many sided. In addition to raising 
many temples and making gifts to maintain and glorify them, 
she is credited with the construction of irrigation tanks named 
“Kundavaip-pereri” and “Sundara-Cholap-pereri” which must 
have been excavated by her and named after her and her father 
respectively near Brahmadesam, close to Cheyyar, in the North 
Arcot district (ARE 264 of 1915). 



l6o MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 

She seems to have survived her brother, and two inscriptions 
of the reign of her brother’s son Rajendra I (third and seventh 
year, ARE 248 and 249 of 1923) mention her establishing 
at the Chola capital at Tanjavur, a hospital named after her 
father, called the Sundara-chola-vinnagara-atular-salai, for which 
gifts of house-site and lands for its maintenance in perpetuity were 
made at Pandaravadai near Tanjavur. 

We have already seen that an inscription of the Alagiyasinga 
Perumal temple at Ennayiram, of the time of the Vijayanagara 
ruler Sadasiva Maharaja (Saka i467=a.d. 1545) states that this 
temple was “the centre of 24 sacred shrines” (ARE 338 of 1917). 
An inscription in the same temple (ARE 335 of 1917) dated in 
the twenty-fifth year, 112th day of Rajendra I (a.d. 1036) states 
that at the king’s order the assembly of Rajaraja-chaturvedi- 
mangalam (Ennayiram) in Jayangondasola mandalam met in 
the hall of this temple called Mummudisola mandapa and made 
a settlement regarding the income derived from the lands belong- 
ing to a number of shrines, and apportioned them for various 
services (see Section on Ennayiram). 

An inscription of the 21st year of Rajaraja I on the wall of 
the Sri Kari-varada Perumal temple (ARE 8 of 1929) here 
gives a list of vessels and ornaments made of gold, silver and 
pearls and presented to the temples of (1) Kundavai Vinnagar, 
(2) Iravikula Manikka Isvaram and (3) Kundavai Jinalaya 
built by Parantakan Kundavaip-pirattiyar, daughter of Ponmali- 
gaitunjina devar (Sundara Chola) in the city of Rajarajapuram 
(modern Dadapuram). 

Another inscription of the twenty-first year of Rajaraja I 
in this temple (ARE 17 of 1919) also refers to the construction 
of the three temples built by Princess Kundavai Pirattiyar in 
the city of Rajarajapuram referred to above (ARE 8 of 1919) 
and it records that, on receipt of a royal writ, the adminis- 
trative officer in charge of Panaiyur ordered the temple treasury 
to be examined and a list of the various gifts consisting of vessels 
and ornaments of various descriptions made of gold, silver and 
pearls, to be engraved on stone in the respective temples. 

Yet another inscription found in the Kari-varada Perumal 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME l6l 

temple (ARE 14 of 1919) registers an order of the twenty-third 
year of Rajaraja I which directs that the dancing girls attached 
to the temples of Iravikula Manikka Isvarar and Kundavai 
Vinnagar Alvar should accompany the god in procession and 
sing and dance during the hunting festival of the Vishnu 
temple. 

Dadapuram is now an obscure village in the Tindivanam 
taluk of South Arcot district about 3.2 kms (two miles) from 
Vallimedupettai. Dadapuram is the corruption of Rajarajapuram. 
The Siva temple now called Sri Manikantesvaram is named in 
the inscription on the temple walls that of Iravikula Manikka 
Isvarar, evidently after one of the titles of Rajaraja I. The neigh- 
bouring village of Ennayiram is called the taniyur of Rajaraja- 
chaturvedimangalam. If not identical with it Rajarajapuram 
might at least have been part of the city-complex of Rajaraja- 
chaturvedimangalam. There are three inscriptions, of the 
19th 2 1st and 25th years of Rajaraja I (ARE 20, 17 and 

18 of 1919), and one of the fourth year of Rajendra 1 (ARE 

19 of 1919), on the walls of this Siva temple. The earliest (of 
the nineteenth year of Rajaraja I) mentions a gift of sheep 
for a lamp to this temple by a maid-servant of Kundavai 
Pirattiyar. 

The next, of the twenty-first year of Rajaraja I, refers to 
the construction of the three temples of Iravikula Manikka 
Isvaram, Kundavai Vinnagar and Kundavai Jinalaya. The 
Iravikula Manikka Isvaram is no doubt the modern Sri Mani- 
kantesvarar temple. This inscription states that on receipt of a 
royal writ, the royal officer ordered the temple treasury to be 
examined and the particulars of the gifts of vessels and ornaments 
of gold, silver and pearls made to the temples of the locality to 
be engraved on stone in the respective temples. The inscription 
of the twenty-fifth regnal year of Rajaraja I (ARE 18 of 1919) 
mentions a gift of ten lamps made by Parantaka Kundavai 
Pirattiyar. The inscription of the fourth year of Rajendra I also 
refers to gifts made to the above temple. Thus it is clear that 
this Siva temple must have been built of stone sometime before 
the nineteenth year of Rajaraja I (a. d. 1004) and we may add 



162 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


that the temple of Rajarajesvaram at Tanjavur should also have 
been built about the same time. 

The main shrine consists of a garbhagriha and an ardhamandapa. 
The mukhamandapa seems to be a later addition, not elegantly 
dovetailed to the original structures ; and even its base mouldings 
are different. 

The main temple rests on a high and plain upapitham adorned 
with pilasters. In the cardinal points there are lions and elephants, 
one on each of the three free sides. The mouldings of the 
adhishthanam consist of the upanam , jagati, semi-circular (curved) 
kumudam , kapotam with kudus and a yali frieze. 

There are devakoshtas crowned with makara-toranas on the 
outer walls of the garbhagriha and the figures found therein clock- 
wise are the following : 

1. Ganesa : A double lotus petal pitham , short stout legs, big 
belly, the yajnopavita, the necklace, the udarabandha, the drapery, 
the broad sash with loops and tassels falling over the right leg 
and the semi-circular umbrella above deserve notice. 

2. Jnana Dakshinamurti : The jatabhara is elaborately worked 
out ; a smile on the lips instead of the usual deep contemplative 
look is note-worthy. 

3. Vishnu : The four-armed god stands with his proper right 
and left hands in abhaya and katyavalambita poses respectively, and 
holds sankha and chakra in the other two. He wears kirita-makuta, 
necklace, keyuras, bracelets and anklets. The uttariya has a central 
loop with a knot on the right side. 

4. Durga : The eight-handed goddess stands in the tribhanga 
pose with her proper right and left hands in abhaya and katyava- 
lambita poses respectively. In the remaining hands she holds a 
khadga, a chakra, a sankha, a long bow and a ketaka. She wears 
a karanda-makuta, channavira and kesabandha. The central loop 
and the side knots and tassels of the drapery are in evidence. 
There is a semi-circular chhatra over her head. 

Subrahmanyar, Jyeshtha and Bhairavar : These should have 
been the deities of the ashta-parivara alayas — a feature of the Early 
Chola temples, found even in the temples of Rajaraja I (See 
PI 126 and Lalit Kala, 15). 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 1 63 

SRI KARI - VARADA PERUMAL TEMPLE 27 

About a kilometre and a half to the south-west of the Siva temple 
of Sri Manikantesvaram lies the temple of Sri Kari-Varada 
Perumal, dedicated to Vishnu, the bestower of grace on Gajendra. 
On the evidence of the inscriptions on the walls of this temple 
and those of the Manikantesvaram, this temple can be identified 
as that of Kundavai Vinnagar Alvar. 

The earliest of these — of the twenty-first regnal year of 
Rajaraja I — gives a list of vessels and ornaments made of gold, 
silver and pearls presented to the temples of Kundavai Vinnagar, 
Ravikula Manikkesvaram and Kundavai Jinalaya, “built by the 
princess Pirantakan Kundavai Pirattiyar, the daughter of 
Ponmaligai-tunjina devar, in the city of Rajarajapuramin Nallur 
nadu, a sub-division of Venkunrak-kottam. It mentions an 
official called Parakrama sola Muvendavelan. The year of this 
inscription (a.d.ioo6) may be taken as the probable date of 
completion of this stone temple. Of the two inscriptions of the 
twenty-third regnal year of Rajaraja I, one mentions a gift 
of ninety sheep for a lamp by a maid-servant of the king, and 
the other records that the dancing girls attached to both 
the temples should accompany the Gods in procession and 
sing and dance during the hunting festival of the Vishnu 
temple. 

An inscription of the twenty-fifth regnal year of Rajaraja I 
mentions a gift of sheep for lamps to the temple of Kundavai 
Vinnagar Alvar by Pirantakan Kundavai Pirattiyar. Incidentally, 
the inscription states that Senapati Mummudi-sola Brahmamara- 
yan was in charge of the management of this temple. This royal 
officer is the same person as Sri Krishnan Raman alias Mummudi- 
sola Brahmamarayan, the Senapati and the perundaram of Raja- 
raja I. 

There are two inscriptions of Rajendra I. The first, of the 
fourth regnal year, relates to a gift of sheep for ten lamps to the 
temple of Kundavai Vinnagar Alvar by Kundavai Pirattiyar 
herself. The other, of the eleventh regnal year, stops with the 
mention of the name of the king. 



164 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


The temple consists of the garbhagriha, the ardhamandapa and 
the mukhamandapa as in the local Siva temple. It is a dvi-tala 
structure surmounted by a semi-circular sikhara (renovated) and 
a stupi. There are devakoshtas surmounted by makara-toranas on 
all the free sides of the garbhagriha and the ardhamandapa. All the 
niches are now empty. There is a fine kodungai (kapotam) adorned 
with kudus on the top of the first tala and a yali frieze above it. 
Salas and hulas are found on the second tala. Among the vimana 
devatas may be mentioned Vishnu on Garuda, and Rajamannar. 
Sculptures of Hanuman perhaps adorned the edges; one such 
could be seen over the kodungai of the second tala (left side). 
(See PI 127 and Lalit Kala 14) 

TIRUVAKKARAI 

28 SIVALOKAMUDAIYA PARAMASVAMIN TEMPLE 

Tiruvakkarai lies on the banks of the Varaha (Ginjee) river 
about 19.3 1 kms (12 miles) from Villupuram on the Mailam- 
Ginjee road. There is an ancient temple here dedicated to 
Chandramoulisvarar; we have dealt with this temple which 
could be attributed to Aditya I’s age {Early Chola Art , I, pp. 
193-5; Early Chola Temples, pp. 201-2). 

It consists of the main central shrine of Chandramoulisvarar, 
a mandapa in front of the shrine, an inner prakara, a second prakara 
with a gopuram, a 100-pillared mandapa in the second prakara (ARE 
190 of 1904), a Siva shrine within the main temple complex called 
the Sivalokamudaiya Paramasvamin shrine and a shrine dedi- 
cated to Varadaraja Perumal, with a maridapa in front. 

Here we are concerned only with the Siva shrine called that 
of Sivalokamudaiya Paramasvamin. On the south face of its 
base, there is an inscription of the 16th year of Rajaraja-Raja- 
kesarivarman (a.d. iooi) recording a gift to the stone temple 
of Sivalokamudaiya Paramasvamin, which was built by Udaiya- 
pirattiyar Sembiyan Mahadeviyar, queen of Gandaradittadevar 
who gave birth to Sri Uttama Chola devar. This further records 
many allotments for the various requirements of the temple. 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA I’s TIME 


165 


Unfortunately, this record is not complete (ARE 200 of 1904). 

Thus this shrine is a foundation of Sembiyan Mahadevi 
in the days of Rajaraja I. She lived well into the reign of 
Rajaraja I the last record relating to her being dated as late as 
A.D. 1006. 


TIRUMUKKUDAL 

VENKATESA PERUMAL (VISHNU BHATTARAR) 

TEMPLE 29 

Tirumukkudal in the Uttaramerur taluk of Chingleput 
district is picturesquely situated at the confluence of three rivers, 
viz., the Palar, the Veghavati and the Cheyyar. The name of the 
place means the sacred meeting point of three rivers. It is about 
three kms from Palaiya-Sivaram railway station (next to Walaja- 
bad) on the Kanchipuram-Chingleput section of the Southern 
Railway. 

The temple of Venkatesa Perumal dates back to the times 
of the Pallavas, as seen from an inscription of the twenty-fourth 
year of Vijaya Nripatunga Vikramavarman, found on a slab 
in the inner enclosure of this temple. We also learn that the 
deity was called Vishnu Bhattarar and that one Ariganda Peru- 
manar, son of Kadupatti Kuttaraiyar, gave a gift of gold for a 
lamp, which was left in the charge of the assembly of Singapuram 
in Urrukkattuk-kottam. The original temple should have thus 
belonged to the Late Pallava and Early Chola period. 

But the earliest inscriptions found on the walls of the srivimana 
relate to Rajaraja I and his son Rajendra I. There are two records 
of Rajaraja both dated in his twenty-eighth year, 141st day 
(ARE 1 7 1 and 178 of 1915). From the first of these records, we 
gather that the great assembly of Madhurantaka-chaturvedi- 
mangalam (named after Parantaka I) met together in the great 
hall called Sembiyan- Mahadevi-peru-mandapam named after the 
mother of Uttama Chola and built by the king, and agreed to 
pay the taxes on certain temple lands from the interest on a 
specified quantity of gold which they had received from the 



1 66 MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 

temple treasury. Kudalur, a northern hamlet of the Chaturvedi- 
mangalam, finds mention in the inscription. One of the signa- 
tories to the agreement was the accountant of the Samvatsara 
variyam (Annual Committee) . The second record also refers to a 
gift of gold and land for offerings to the temple by the great 
assembly. 

There are a number of records of the period of Rajendra I. 
The earliest (ARE 175 of 1915) relates to the third regnal year 
and mentions a gift of gold on the occasion of the Masi maham 
festival. The next one (ARE 176 of 1915) dated in his fourth 
year, 352nd day is in respect of a gift of paddy for offerings and 
festivals on new moon days, and mentions Rajaraja Vadya- 
marayan and the officer Sembangudaiyar. We noticed the title 
of Vadyamarayan in connection with the gifts of land made by 
Rajaraja I to the talip-pendir and other temple servants, among 
whom were a number of musicians and instrumentalists inducted 
into the service of the temple of Rajarajesvaram at Tanjavur. 
One of the fifth year records a gift of 90 sheep for a lamp to 
the temple of Tirumukkudal-alvar in Madhurantaka chaturvedi- 
mangalam, which was a taniyur in Jayangondasola mandalam 
(ARE 169 of 1915). Next comes a seventh year, 229th day record 
of Rajendra I which deals with a gift of land for the maintenance 
of a flower garden called ‘Rajendra-solan’ (ARE 172 of 1915). 
This record says that the assembly received seven padagams of 
garden land on behalf of the temple of Maha Vishnu at this place 
and arranged for its cultivation. The Vaikkanasas of the temple 
received the paddy from the wet lands accruing to the temple 
and arranged for the cultivation of the garden themselves. In 
order to do this, they employed persons to lift water, dig the earth, 
fence the fields and do all the other connected duties ; also, they 
agreed to have 7,000 baskets of manure spread on the field. 
Two curious conditions connected with this lease of the garden 
land to the Vaikkanasas were (1) that the devakanmis, i.e., the priests 
of the temple, were always to enjoy the kil-bhogam right and the 
Vaikkanasas the lease ( adaivu ) for cultivating ( ulavu ), and (2) that a 
specified number of bundles of hay was to be collected from every 
tenant of the village by the Vaikkanasas and used for the benefit 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 


167 


of the garden only, neither being sent out to Kachchippedu nor 
sold for private puposes ; and it was laid down that the irrigation 
of wet lands from the channel was to be in the usual order, per- 
mitting the temple garden the first claim. A ninth year record 
refers to a gift of 90 sheep for a lamp from the headman of Mama- 
vur Kilinjalur, a hamlet of Vanavan-Mahadevi-chaturvediman- 
galam, a taniyur in Jayangondasola-mandalam (ARE 170 of 1915). 
The next inscription dated in the 38th day of the ninth year 
also deals with a gift of 90 sheep for a lamp, made by one Mandai 
Nangai, the senior wife of Perundanam Rajarajan alias Vanavan 
Brahmadhirajan (ARE 174 of 1915). An agreement entered 
into by certain Vaikhanasas of the temple to use the surplus paddy 
due by them, which had been brought to light by an enquiry con- 
ducted into the accounts of the temple, for recitation of the 
Tiruppadiyam (the term used here for Vaishnavite hymns) in 
the temple is the subject matter of the next record which is dated 
in the sixteenth year, 32nd day (ARE 183 of 1915). This also 
refers to the Sembiyan Mahadevi perumandapam in the middle 
of the village of Madhurantaka chaturvedi-mangalam. There are 
two records of the eleventh year, one referring to a gift of 113 
sheep to the Vennai-kuttar (Lord Krishna) in Tirumukkudal 
and the other, also relating to a gift of sheep, to the temple of 
Maha Vishnu |(ARE 167 and 168 of 1915). 

The ancient temple of Maha Vishnu at Tirumukkudal 
received much attention during the reigns of Rajaraja I and 
Rajendra I; but the contribution of Vira Rajendra to this temple 
deserves special mention. We shall deal with it later under Vira 
Rajendra (Pis 128 and 129). 


SIVAPURAM 


SIVA TEMPLE 

(SRI RAJARAJESVARAM UDAIYA MAHADEVAR) 30 

Sivapuram lies on the Madras-Bangalore road, branching off 
at the thirty-fourth km to the right in a westerly direction towards 
Perumbakkam and Kuvam (23 km). It is about seven kms from 



1 68 MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 

Kuvam in a northerly direction. The ancient name of this village 
was Urogadam* . 

On the east wall of the Siva temple here, is an inscription 
dated in the eighth year of Rajendra I, which refers to a gift 
by the king of 180 sheep, for maintaining two perpetual lamps, 
in “the temple of Sri Rajarajesvaram Udaiya Mahadevar, 
in the village of Urogadam, in Purisai nadu, in Manayir kottam 
in Jayangondasola mandalam”. This inscription reads as follows : 
“Svasti sri : tiru manni valara ... mapperu dandarkkonda 
kopparakesaripanmarana Sri Rajendra Sola devarkku yandu 
8 - avadu jayangonda sola mandalattu manayir kottattu purisai 
nattu Urogadattu Sri Rajaraja Isvaramudaiya Mahadevarkku 
JJdaiyar Sri Rajendra sola devar vaitta tiru-nanda-vilakku 
irandinal adu nurrenpadu.” 

Thus this temple was evidently built in the days of Rajaraja I 
or begun in his time and completed well before the 8th year of 
his son Rajendra I. 

There is a seventh year record of Rajendra I’s days found 
on the east wall of the central shrine, regarding the digging of 
a channel leading from a lake in Siraiyarpudur alias Parantakach- 
cheri, to the temple by the Urar of Kuvam alias Madhuranta- 
kanallur (ARE 233 of 1961-62). This is the earliest record found 
in this temple. 

The mahasabha of Solavichchadira-saruppedi-mangalam in 
Kanrur nadu sold a piece of land for 10 Rajarajan kasus to Adidasa 
Chandesvarar of Sri Rajarajesvaram in Urogadam, the proceeds 
from which were to be used by the tiruvunnaligai udaiyar to feed 
one Sivayogi at the time of making offerings to the god (twenty- 
sixth year of Rajendra I — - ARE 226 of 1961-62). 

There are a number of inscriptions of Rajendra I, all relating 
to his twenty-sixth regnal year (ARE 227 to 232 of 1961-62). 
Some interesting details are gleaned from these records relating to 
the arrangement made for providing for the services in the temple. 


♦This place should not be confused with another Sivapuram, five kms south-east of Kumba- 
konam in the Tanjavur district associated with the Nataraja bronze whisked away to U.S.A. 
and sold for about Rs 70 lakhs (PI 407). The latter has been sung by the Tamil Saints. 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA I’s TIME 


169 


The gold deposited with them at different times for services and 
offerings to the deity were invested by the temple authorities 
with various mahasabhas and the urar of Nirvelur in Nirvelur 
nadu in Urrukkattuk-kottam. All these local bodies which received 
the gold agreed to supply to the granary of the temple annually 
a specified quantity of paddy in terms of the measure called 
Rajakesari, as interest on the gold. 

From a record of Rajadhiraja I dated in his twenty-seventh 
regnal year (a.d. 1044-45), we g et to know of the various cate- 
gories of temple servants. According to this inscription, a large 
quantity of paddy received as kanikadan from Tiruppuniyettam, 
a devadana village attached to Sri Rajarajesvaram in Sivapuram, 
was ear-marked for food offerings and for distribution among 
the various servants of the temple, who were as follows : ( 1 ) the 
persons engaged in the worship ; (2) the tiruvunnaligai-udaiyar ; 
(3) six manigal ; (4) 24 Patiyilar ; (5) the panchacharyar ; (6) twenty 
uvachchar including the Patayyan ; (7) the musicians playing on 
the vina and the udukkai ; (8) the reciter of Tiruppadiyam ; (9) 
the tiruvaykkelvi-udaiyan ; (10) twenty-two chauri bearers ( kavari - 
pinakkal) ; ( 1 1 ) four persons who prepared the pallit-tongal (umbrel- 
las) ; (12) the accountant ; (13) the treasurer ; (14) four body- 
guards ; (15) four garland-makers ; (16) four lamp-bearers 
and (17) four standard-bearers. One cannot help noticing the 
similarity of this set-up to the elaborate arrangements made by 
the ruler’s grand-father Rajaraja I in the Tanjavur temple. 

The temple is a compact all-stone structure which consists 
of the garbhagriha, the antarala, the ardhamandapa and the mukha- 
mandapa. The garbhagriha measures 3.60 ms square externally 
and 2.05 ms square internally. The srivimana rises on a low adhish- 
thanam consisting of an upanam, a tri-patta kumudam, a vanmanam 
and a van, while the wall surface is divided into three segments 
by four pilasters. The devakoshta images are Ganapati, Dakshina- 
murti, Lingodbhavar, Brahma (a later replacement) and Durga. 

The superstructure starts with an entablature containing 
the bhutagana frieze below the cornice and a yali frieze above it. 
The temple is an eka-tala structure with a circular griva, and a 
sikhara all in stone, with stucco overlaid, which is mostly gone. 



170 MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 

The griva-koshtas have figures which are covered over with lichen 
and cannot be identified. Around the griva, there are four very 
lively nandis in the four corners (Pis 130 to 136 ). 

In the mukhamandapa, there are two dvarapalas adjoining the 
entrance to the ardhamandapa , both stately figures of Rajaraja I 
style. In addition, there are some fine loose sculptures, kept 
inside the mandapa, of Chandesvarar, Surya and Bhairavar. They 
must once have occupied their respective positions in subshrines. 
The temple is in a bad state of repair and requires to be conserved. 

The temple belongs to the days of Rajaraja I. 

ARPAKKAM 


ADIKESAVA PERUMAL 
(TIRUVIRA - VINNAGAR ALVAR) 

31 TEMPLE 

On the Kanchipuram-Uttaramerur road, after crossing the 
Veghavati at Kanchi and the Palar four kilometres further south, 
one proceeds another four kilometres to reach Arpakkam ; 
it lies between the Palar and the Cheyyar. 

In this village, there are two important temples, with rich 
historical associations, one belonging to the Middle Chola period 
and the other to the Later Chola period. The former is that of 
Adikesava Perumal which bore in the ancient days the name 
of Tiruvira-vinnagar Alvar temple, and the latter the temple 
of Tiruvalisvaram, or Tiruviramesvaram. We are here concerned 
with the Adikesava Perumal temple. 

On the north wall of the temple is an incomplete record (ARE 
: 39 of [ 9 2 3) of Rajaraja I dated in his eighteenth year, registering 
a gift by purchase of a tank and land, made tax-free, for offerings 
to the god Tiruvira-vinnagar Alvar in the name of the queen 
Sembiyan Mukkokilanadigal alias Kannara-Nachchi Pidara Nan- 
gai, by a certain Kodandaraman of Panivagamangalam of Chola 
mandalam. From this inscription we come to know the name of 
a queen of Rajaraja I not generally known, and the name would 
indicate that she was a Kannara princess. Another inscription 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 


171 


of Rajendra I relating to his twenty-seventh year, registers a 
gift of land by the residents of Arpakkam for the maintenance 
of seven musicians for service in the temple of Tiruvira-vinnagar 
Alvar (ARE 145 of 1923). On the south wall of the temple is 
a record of Udaiyar Sri Rajendra Choladeva (II), relating to 
his second year registering a gift of land for two perpetual 
lamps to the god Tiruvira-vinnagar Alvar by queen Trailokya 
Mahadevi, one on behalf of her mother Umai Nangai and the other 
on behalf of Vikramakesari Pallavaraiyar (ARE 138 of 1923). 
There are two records of Sakalaloka-chakravartin Rajanarayana 
Sambuvarayan both dated in his sixteenth year registering a gift 
of land in Mungilappattu as tirunamattukkani by certain indi- 
viduals of Magaral and its later conversion into a sarvamanya 
gift by the residents ( nattavar ) of Vayalaikkavur, to the god 
Kesava Perumal of Arpakkam in Eyil nadu, a subdivision of 
Eyir-kottam (ARE 140 and 14 1 of 1923). In the fourth year of 
Vijaya Gandagopala, one kalanju of gold is given as a gift for 
burning a twilight lamp in the temple by the headman of Anangur 
in Paniyur nadu, a subdivision of Naduvil nadu alias Rajaraja 
valanadu (ARE 142 of 1923). 

This temple would appear to have come into existence some 
time before the eighteenth year of Rajaraja I (a.d. 1003) and 
was possibly renovated after the days of Rajendra II which 
explains the misplacement of some of the stones containing the 
inscriptions of the first two rulers of the Middle Chola period. 

SOLAPURAM 

SIVA TEMPLE (RAJARAJISVARAM) 32 

Solapuram is now a small place adjoining Vellore, the head- 
quarters of North Arcot district. There are some ruined temples 
here. 

On the base of the local ruined Siva temple, there are a num- 
ber of inscriptions relating to the Middle and Later Chola periods. 
Fhe earliest inscription relates to the twenty-seventh year of 
Rajaraja I, but it is unfortunately incomplete. However it 



172 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


mentions the name of the village where the temple is situated 
as Uyyakkondan-Solapuram in Vadakkil Vangamugai nadu in 
the district of Pangala nadu in Jayangondasola mandalam, and 
refers to some merchants presumably making donations to the 
temple (ARE 421 of 1902; SII, VIII, 7). There is also an inscrip- 
tion dated in the sixth year of Rajendra I. In an inscription dated 
in the twenty-fourth regnal year of Koluttunga I, the deity 
is called the Mahadevar of Uyyakkondan-Solapuram (ARE 
425 of 1902). In another inscription dated in his thirty-second 
year, we get the name of the temple as Rajarajisvaram said to 
be located in Uyyakkondan-Solapuram in Vadakkil Vanga- 
mugai nadu, a subdivision of Pangala nadu ; it relates to a gift 
for a lamp (ARE 423 of 1902; SII, VIII, 8). 

The ancient name of this village was Kattuttumbur, and 
after the conquest of this region by the Cholas, it was rechrist- 
ened Uyyakkondan-Solapuram after a surname of Rajaraja I ; 
the ruined Siva temple at Solapuram was a foundation of the 
days of Rajaraja I and named Rajarajisvaram after him (see 
Early Chola Art /, p. 18, and also Early Chola Temples, pp. 89-91). 

KALAKATTUR 

33 AGNISVARAR TEMPLE 

Kalakkattur is a hamlet in the Kanchipuram taluk of Chingle- 
put district. It lies about two kms to the right of the road from 
Kanchipuram to Uttaramerur at the seventh km stone and is situ- 
ated at the base of the bund of a lake called Putteri. In this village, 
there is an Early Chola temple standing amidst paddy fields. 

The temple is a karrali (stone temple) facing east. It consists 
of the garbhagriha, 4 ms square, with recesses in the antarala 
part, with a later closed mandapa having an entrance to the south, 
which is a square of side 5 - 5 ° ms - The garbhagriha has no super- 
structure now. There is a ruined madil. 

There are a shrine for Ganapati to the east of the mandapa 
and a Nandi in front of the temple in the same axis as the Linga 
of the garbhagriha. 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i's TIME 


173 


The devakoshta sculptures are of interest. Ganapati andDurga 
are in the south and north wall niches of the antarala; Dakshina- 
murti, Ardhanari and Brahma are respectively in the south, 
west and north niches of the garbhagriha. All the sculptures are 
of high quality and could be assigned to the ninth century a.d. 
The presence of Ardhanari in the rear devakoshta indicates that 
the garbhagriha and these sculptures should be assigned to the 
period of Aditya I (Pis 137 to 140). 

Seven inscriptions have been copied from this village. The 
earliest of them is one on a slab set up near the Pidari temple. 
It belongs to the seventh regnal year of Parthivendradhipati- 
varman, the Chola prince and viceroy in this region during the 
period prior to the accession of Rajaraja I, who was in a large 
measure responsible for the reconquest of the region of Tondai- 
mandalam over-run and ruled by the Rashtrakuta king Krishna 
III (see my Early Chola Temples , pp. 204-205). This record (ARE 
1 17 of 1923) refers to a gift of land, after purchase, for mid-day 
offerings to the temple of Subrahmanyar at Kalakattur by one 
Chakrapani Venkadan of the same village which is given the 
alternate name of Attinamach-chaturvedimangalam and is said 
to be located east of the Chandramegha-tatakam — presumably 
the lake now called the Putteri on whose bund the village and the 
temple are situated. 

What is now called the Agnisvarar temple is mentioned in 
the inscriptions on its walls as the temple of Uruni Alvar. There 
are six inscriptions in the temple, but none of them is a foundation 
inscription. Of these, three belong to the reign of Rajaraja I. 
The earliest of them is one of his fourteenth regnal year (ARE 121 
of 1923). We learn that Kalakattur was a sala bhoga (a feeding 
house) of Tiruvegambapuram*, that the king himself desired the 
gift of only one lamp in this temple “for the prosperity of all the 
kings and of the world at large” — echoing the traditional age-long 
prayer of every pious Hindu, “sarve janaha sukhino bhavantu” , 


*Brahmadesam, in Cheyyar taluk of North Arcot district, bore in the ancient days the name 
of Rajamalla-chaturvedimangalam, which was a part of Tiruvegambapuram, in Damar-kottam 
(ARE i8g of 1915). 



1 74 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


but that provision was made for two perpetual lamps by Vennaip- 
puttur Udaiyar Kandan Maindan of the village of Kalakattur 
in Eri-kil nadu, included in Kaliyur kottam. 

The next inscription, which is of his seventeenth year is frag- 
mentary, but the previous donor figures in this also (ARE 118 
of 1923); it registers a gift by Madevan Kolambattadigal of 
Kusappur, in Pulal kottam of Tondai Nadu. 

There are two inscriptions of Rajendra I, both of his third 
regnal year. In one (ARE 120 of 1923), Kalakkattur is said to 
be a sala bhoga of Tiruvegambapuram (see no. 121 above) in 
Eri-kil nadu. The other (ARE 122 of 1923) registers a gift of 
five cows for supplying curds to the god Uruni Alvar of Kalak- 
kattur by the Madhyastha of Nallarrur in Sengattu kottam. 

The existence of three temples in this village — the Pidari 
temple, the Subrahmanyar temple and the Agnisvarar temple — 
is thus brought out by the local inscriptions. Though the earliest 
inscription concerning it is one of Rajaraja I’s, we can assign the 
Agnisvarar temple to the period of Aditya I of the Early Chola 
age based on the evidence of the sculpture of Ardhanarisvarar 
placed in the devakoshta of the central shrine. 

SENGUNRAM 

34 JAYANGONDASOLISVARAM 

Sengunram is in the Gudiyattam taluk of North Arcot dis- 
trict. There is an ancient Siva temple here which is now deserted 
and without worship. This is a dated temple which came into 
being in the days of Rajaraja I and was named after one of his 
surnames. 

From four inscriptions that were recorded in this temple in 
the days of the Middle and the Later Cholas, we learn that the 
temple bore the name of Jayangondasolisvaram. In the twenty- 
ninth regnal year of Rajaraja I, one Damodara Bhatta of Kada- 
langudi in Rajendrasimha valanadu in Chola mandalam made a 
gift of 20 pons to the merchants of Jayangonda-solapuram, which 
was a city in Andi nadu, a sub-division of Perumbanappadi 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA I*S TIME 1 75 

in Jayangondasola mandalam. The gift was meant for the 
purchase of 1 80 sheep for a perpetual lamp to the temple, which 
is called in the inscription Jayangonda solisvaram. Even the liquid 
measure adopted by the temple and possibly in the neighbour- 
hood also was called ‘Jayangonda solaraiyan’ (ARE 149 of 1921). 
In the seventh regnal year of Rajendra I, a similar gift of 20 
kalanjus of gold was made by a citizen for two perpetual lamps 
in the temple (ARE 151 of 1921). Here again the name of the 
temple is given as Jayangonda solisvaram. We also learn that, 
about the same time, the merchants of Jayangonda-solapuram, 
which bore the alternate name of Vikkur, met in a hall pre- 
sumably built by the chief of the city, and made a gift of 
land free of taxes, for the services in the temple (inscription 
dated in the seventh regnal year of Rajendra I — ARE 152 of 
1921). There is a fragmentary inscription of the time of Vikrama 
Chola. 


TIRUMALAI 

KUNDAVAI JINALAYA 35 

Polur is an important station on the Villupuram-Katpadi 
rail link of the Southern Railway. Sixteen kms (10 miles) to 
its east is the village of Tirumalai, which was an important Jaina 
centre in the Pallava and Chola days. Here is a hill known in the 
local inscriptions as Vaigai (or Vaigavur) Tirumalai. Some of 
the inscriptions refer to a Kundavai Jinalaya. 

This Jaina centre, so we learn from a Later Chola inscription, 
was ruled by a Yavanika, called Elini of Vanji (which is to be 
identified with modern Karur), during the early Sangam period. 
This chief is claimed to have set up images of Yaksha and Yakshini 
on the Tirumalai hill, which bore the Sanskrit name of Arnasu- 
giri and the Tamil name of En-guna-virat-tirumalai. 

The earliest Chola inscription at Tirumalai relates to a gift 
of gold in the third regnal year of Parantaka I (a.d. 910), by two 
residents of Kaduttalai for feeding a devotee in the Jaina temple 
at Vaigavur. We next hear of a gift of a lamp to the Yaksha of 



176 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


Tirumalai made in a.d. 959 by a servant of the Rashtrakuta king 
Krishna III. 

Next comes a record of Rajaraja I dated in his twenty-first 
year, which is found on a rock in front of the gopuram at the 
base of the Tirumalai hill (SII, I, 66) . It mentions that a certain 
Gunavira-mamunivan built a sluice in the local reservoir. 

There are two inscriptions of Rajendra I. Both of them relate 
to his twelfth regnal year. One of them records a gift to the 
temple Vaigavur-Tirumalai which is therein called Kundavai 
Jinalaya, i.e., the temple dedicated by Kundavai to the Jina 
(SII, I, 67). 

According to this inscription, “Chamuddappai, the wife of 
the merchant Nannappaiyan, resident of Perumbanappadi, 
alias Karaivarimalliyur, gave a perpetual lamp to the temple of 
Sri Kundavai Jinalaya (on) the holy mountain at the Pallich- 
chandam (a village belonging to the Jaina temple) of Vaigavur 
in Mugai nadu, a division in the middle of Pangala nadu in 
Jayangondasola mandalam. dwenty kasus were given for one 
lamp and ten kasus for the sacred food-offerings”. 

At the foot of the hillock is a shrine in a natural cave under 
a ledge of the rock mentioned earlier. It is likely that this cave 
temple was renovated at about the time when Kundavai built 
her Jinalaya and reconsecrated the sculptures of Yaksha and 
Yakshini held to have been set up in the days of Elini, the ancient 
Chera ruler. There are paintings on the walls of the cave, which 
might also have been carried out at Kundavai’s instance; they 
appear to have been overlaid on an earlier layer of paintings. 
Patches of the latter are still to be seen in the background. 
Presumably, the older paintings had mostly faded and Kundavai 
had them repainted. The centre of attention in the paintings is 
a wheel of victory ( Vijaya-chakra ) whose nave is occupied by 
the Jina flanked by attendant deities. What the Dharma-chakra 
is to the Buddhists, the Vijaya-chakra is to the Jainas. Such a 
wheel is mentioned by the Jaina ruler Kharavela of Kalinga 
m his inscription at the Khandagin-Udayagiri caves near 
Bhubanesvar in Orissa. There is also a Jaina Vijaya-chakra 
painted on the ceiling of the Jaina cave temple at Sittannavasal 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 


177 


in the Pudukkottai district* (seventh century a.d.). 

In Puduppadi in Walajapet taluk, North Arcot district, 
there are a Siva temple and a Vishnu temple (called Vedaranya 
Perumal temple), belonging to the Middle Chola period. Besides, 
there was a Jaina temple built during the days of Rajaraja I and 
named Iravikula Manikkap-perumpalli, after a surname of 
Rajaraja I. Nothing beyond a slab of stone containing the 
inscription, “Svasti-sri Iravikula manikkap-perumpalli” , remains 
of the temple (ARE 225 of 1905). Puduppadi, like Dadapuram 
and Olagapuram, must have been an important centre in Jayan- 
gondasola mandalam where sectarian rivalries were then un- 
known (Pis 141 and 142). 

Thus, Kundavai Jinalaya was a foundation of the days of 
Rajaraja I. The paintings in the lower cave require our attention. 

MELPADI 

CHOLISVARAM (ARINJIGAI-ISVARAM) 36 

Melpadi is situated 25.60 kms (16 miles) south-west of Chittoor 
and 9.60 kms (6 miles) north of Tiruvallam, on the western bank 
of the Niva (or Ponni) river. The region of Melpadi, which was 
a part of the Chola kingdom during the time of Parantaka I, 
was lost to the Rashtrakutas after the battle of Takkolam (a.d. 
949), and would appear to have been firmly reannexed to the 
Chola empire only after Rajaraja I came to the throne (a.d. 

985)- 

Cholendra Simhesvaram 

There is a temple in the village, dedicated to Somanathe- 
svarar. Though it was rebuilt and given the new name of Cholen- 
dra-simhesvaram in the days of Rajaraja I, it dates back in 
fact to those of Parantaka I. From an inscription of the fourteenth 
year, 258th day of a king referred to as Konerinmaikondan (ARE 
101 of 1921), which should also be attributed to Rajaraja I, 


•Lalit Kala No. 9, pp 30-54. 



MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


178 

we learn that the name of the city changed from Merpadi alias 
Viranarayanapuram into Rajasrayapuram after a surname of 
Rajaraja I and that gifts of lands located in several villages were 
made to the Mahadevar of the Cholendra-simhesvarar temple 
constructed there by the king. 

Arinjigai Isvaram 

Arinjigai or Arinjaya was the youngest son of Parantaka I 
and the grandfather of Rajaraja I. Perhaps he fell fighting in 
or near this place, and consequently came to be referred to later 
as Arrur-tunjina-devar. 

Sometime before his twenty-ninth regnal year (a.d. 1014) 
Rajaraja I constructed a temple called after him that of Arinjigai 
Isvarattu Mahadevar, as a pallippadi (memorial sepulchral temple), 
at the place where the mortal remains of Arinjigai devar were 
buried (ARE 86 of 1889 and SII, III, 17; See also Early Chola 
Temples, pp. 299-302). 

It may be of interest to mention that in the days of Rajendra I, 
its management was in the hands of Lakulisa Pandita, the 
head of the matha of Saivas of the Pasupata sect. 

ATTUR 

37 (I) SOMESVARAR TEMPLE 

(II) PALLIKONDAR SHRINE 

Attur in Tirunelveli district is now a small village located 
in picturesque surroundings on the banks of the Tamraparni 
very near where it joins the sea. It is at a distance of about 64 kms 
from the district headquarters of Tirunelveli, in an easterly 
direction. The ancient Pandyan capital of Korkai is only five 
kms from this place. There is an ancient Siva temple in this 
village dedicated to Somanathar ; now, however, the deity goes 
under the name of Somesvarar. 

The temple contains a large number of inscriptions ranging 
from the days of Rajaraja I to the sixteenth century a.d. Those 
of the Imperial Cholas and their Chola-Pandya viceroys cover 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA I’S TIME 


179 


almost half the number of the total of ninety and odd records, 
the remaining relating mostly to the Pandyas of the post-Chola 
era. 

There are ten inscriptions of the days of Rajaraja I, which 
are the earliest to be found in this temple. They are all engraved 
on the walls of the central shrine. A twenty-first year inscription 
which is the earliest of them, records a gift of sheep for a lamp to 
the temple by Kandan Sittan of Alangudi in Vandalai-velur in 
Arumolideva valanadu (ARE 388 of 1929-30). Three others 
belong to his twenty-second regnal year; one of them stops 
with the mention of Somanatha devar alias Ten Tiruppuvanam 
Udaiyar; another incomplete piece in the same characters 
mentions a merchant Velan Teran alias Purusha-manikka Setti 
(ARE 392 of 1929-30). The next record seems to state that 
tiruvunnaligaiyar agreed to provide for offerings to the deity with 
the income from the land endowed, by purchase, to the temple 
by the king’s regiment called Arulmolideva terinda parivarattar 
(ARE 419 of 1929-30). The third one of the same year registers 
a gift of land as kudiningaa-devadanam for the expenses of the 
tiruchchennadai of the images of Olakka-Vitankar and Nitya- 
sundarar in the temple of Somanatha devar alias Ten Tiruppu- 
vanam Udaiyar at Arrur, a brahmadeya in Kuda nadu, in the 
subdivision of Rajaraja valanadu by Bharadvajan Madhava 
Udaiya Divakaran of Kalitava-mangalam, with himself as a 
tenant (ARE 409 of 1929-30). There are two records of the 
next year, the twenty-third. One of them mentions a sale of 
land made tax-free by the assembly of Kiranur for worship 
and offerings to the images of Rajaraja vinnagar Pallikonda- 
rulina-devar (Vishnu), Durga-Bhagavati, Saptamatrikas, Kshetra- 
palar and Ganapati set up in the temple of Somanathadevar 
alias Ten Tiruppuvanam Udaiyar at Arrur-Sendamangalam 
(ARE 415 of 1929-30). The other inscription which on the basis 
of the characters should belong to the time of Rajaraja I refers 
to a gift of sheep by a person from Parantaka valanadu (ARE 
390 of 1929-30). In the twenty-fourth year, a lady makes a 
gift of sheep for a perpetual lamp (ARE 386 of 1929-30). Another, 
of the twenty-seventh year also refers to a gift of sheep for a 



l80 MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 

lamp (ARE 397 of 1929-30). A twenty-eighth year record 
mentions a gift of land after purchase from the uravar of 
Varandivayal, for the mid-day offerings to the image of puram- 
balai Pillaiyar Ganapatiyar in the temple of Somanathadevar 
alias Ten Tiruppuvanam Udaiyar at Arrur-Sendamangalam 
(ARE 387 of 1929-30). 

Surprisingly, there are only five records of the days of 
Rajendra I, three in his third year and the rest in his fifth year. 
Of his third year inscriptions, one is incomplete, another refers to 
a gift of sheep and the third which is on the east wall of the 
Perumal shrine, registers a sale of land to the temple by the 
assembly, the karanmai-tenants and Nakkan Tukkadichchan 
(ARE 391, 399 and 471 of 1929-30). The two records of the 
fifth year, one of the 200th day and the other of the 254th day, 
both refer to gifts of sheep for perpetual lamps from persons in 
Ghola mandalain. 

Next we have three records of the days of Vira Rajendra; 
the fourth year inscription mentions the provision made for offer- 
ings in the temple of Somanathadevar every Sunday by a certain 
Narayana Tiruvengadam alias Atula-vichchadira-Muvendave- 
lan, the headman of Attur- The fifth year record registers a 
gift of land, after purchase, by Virasir Muvendavelan, the 
headman of Karuppur and a resident of Vetchiyur, a village 
in Serrur kurram, a sub-division of Arumolideva valanadu in 
Chola mandalam, for providing on the day of Ayilyam, the natal 
star of the king, special worship to the several deities in the temple. 
A seventh year record deals with a gift of money to the aga- 
naligaiyar for a twilight lamp in the temple by a certain Arangan 
Sodi, a Vellala of Tidarcheri in Pampur nadu (ARE 401, 389 
and 400 of 1929-30).* 


* Among the Later Chola inscriptions, almost all relate to Kulottunga I, beginning with 
his twelfth regnal year. The earliest, records a gift of sheep and of stands for two perpetual lamps 
to the temple of Somanathadevar alias Ten Tiruppuvanam Udaiyar by a certain Siraman Aditta 
Pidaran alias Nulambadirajan (ARE 407 of 1929-30). The next record relates to his twentieth 
year; it gives the details of certain lands sold to the temple by' the assembly and the karanmai 
tenants of Arrur-Sendamangalam, the latter agreeing to pay the taxes on the land (ARE 448 of 
1929-30). From a record of his twenty-fourth year, we get to know that Arrur in Kuda nadu 
becomes a part of Uttamasola valanadu. A thirty-sixth year record gives the information that 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME l8l 

Apart from these records, there are others given with the 
regnal years of the Chola Pandya viceroys. Three relate to 
Jatavarman alias Sundara Chola Pandya deva and are of his 
sixth, twenty- first and thirtieth years; the first refers to a gift 
of buffaloes by a Vellala of the village for a perpetual lamp ; the 
second, found in a random stone in the pavement of the Soma- 
sundari Amman shrine, records the provision made by Bhara- 
dvajan Lokaditya Kuttan of Arrur for a perpetual lamp; the 
third records a gift of sheep and a lamp-stand for a perpetual 
lamp by Pandan Kattangan of the Sundara Sola Pandya terinda 
palayaval (a unit of the army) (ARE 416, 473 and 395 of 1929-30). 
Similarly, of another viceroy, Maravarman Vikrama Chola 
Pandya deva, we have four records; one, whose year is lost, 
records a gift of buffaloes for a perpetual lamp ; another of his 
twenty-second year, also deals with a gift for a perpetual lamp 
to the temple, which is here said to be in Arrur in Rajadhiraja 
chaturvedimangalam, a brahmadeya of Kuda nadu, a sub- 
division of Uttamasola valanadu in Rajaraja Pandi Nadu, 
by a native of Kshatriyasikhamani valanadu; a third, of his 
twenty-fifth year, states that the Sivabrahmanas of the temple 
agreed to provide for special offerings and worship to the God 


one Kuditangi Mummudi solan alias Jayangondasola Vesalipadi of Arasur in Arumolideva 
valanadu of Chola mandalam bought land from two residents of Tirukkadavur, a brakmadeyam 
in Talaippanai in Kuda nadu, and gifted it to the temple for the sacred bath of the deity with 
water from the Tanporundam (Tamraparni) (ARE 402 of 1929-30). A thirty-eighth year 
inscription is found on a pillar in the antarala of the central shrine, and registers the sale of land 
made tax-free to the temple by seven persons of Korkai alias Madhurantakanallur in Kuda 
nadu (ARE 422 of 1929-30). This inscription is preceded by an incomplete inscription of 
Vira Rajendra. On another pillar in the same place is a forty-eighth year inscription of the 
same ruler; it registers a gift of land tax-free to the temple by two residents of the village for 
lamps and for offerings to the deity on the day of Kartigai (ARE 422 of 1929-30). An undated 
record in Sanskrit verse (in Grantha) gives the surname of Jayadhara for Kulottunga I and 
records a gift of a gold aureola and money for two lamps to the temple by the minister Mana- 
vatara (Naralokavira) . 

There are a large number of Pandyan records ; briefly covering them, we learn that in Arrur- 
Sendamangalam there was a Vishnu temple called Tirunarayana Vinnagar, that in the days of 
Maravarman Sundara Pandya “who was pleased to hand back to the Cholas the Chola country”, 
the place bore the alternate name of Avanipasekhara chaturvedimangalam, that Korkai was 
called Madhurodayanallur, that in the days of Maravarman Kulasekhara, a mandapa was built 
in, and a flower-garden endowed to, this temple by one Kesavan Idaiyarru Isvaramudaiyan, 
and that Arrur was called Venru-mudisudiya-Sundara-Pandiyapattinam in Parantaka valanadu 
(ARE of 454, 1929-30). 



MIDDLE CLIOLA TEMPLES 


l 82 


Somanathadevar on the days of the new moon and to feed pilgrims 
on those days, with the interest on the endowment made by 
Udaiya Divakaran Trimurti of Madevimangalam in Panaiyur 
nadu, a sub-division of Kshatriyasikhamani valanadu in Chola- 
mandalam. And finally, one, also of his twenty-fifth year, says 
that the Sivabrahmanas belonging to the aganaligai of the temple 
agreed to provide on every amavasya day special offerings to the 
deity and to feed 15 Sivabrahmanas in the temple with the produce 
of the land endowed by a certain Kandan Aiyanar alias Nripa- 
sikhamani Muvendavelar of Mangalakkal, who purchased it from 
the assembly of Rajadhiraja chaturvedimangalam ; this record 
mentions a unit of measure for grains called the Somanathan- 
marakkal (ARE 403, 406, 417 and 393 of 1929-30). 

We may conclude that this temple came into existence 
during the days of Rajaraja I after he had annexed the Pandyan 
territory and that the Pallikonda Perumal shrine in the temple 
came into existence before the twenty-third year of Rajaraja I. 

The Amman shrine came into existence during the Pandyan 
days. 

The main shrine of Attur, viz., that of Somanatha devar consists 
of a garbhagriha, an antarala, and an ardhamandapa with a circum- 
ambulatory passage and a tiruch-churru-maligai. In the front there 
is a covered hall ( rnahamandapa ) supported by three rows of six 
pillars each. The garbhagriha and the antarala constitute one 
unit on a common plinth, while the ardhamandapa is at a lower 
level, from which the antarala is reached by a flight of three 
steps. There are four pillars in the ardhamandapa in the traditional 
Middle Chola style, round and capped by a plain corbel with 
bevelled edges. On the outer front of the ardhamandapa one on 
either side of the entrance, are two beautifully carved Rajaraja- 
style dvarapalas, measuring about 1.22 ms (four feet) in height. 
There are no niche figures in the three niches of the garbhagriha, 
which are shallow, very much in the Pandyan style, with little 
scope for housing any koshta deities. There is a sparsely distri- 
buted bhutagana frieze below the cornice. On the southern side, 
however, where there ought to be a Dakshinamurti niche 
figure, we have a modern structure to house an old and fine 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA I’s TIME 1 83 

stone sculpture of Yoga-Dakshinamurti. Away from the dvara- 
palas and in front of the eastern wall of the ardhamandapa , there 
are some fine bronzes. 

Sculptures 

(i) Stone : From east to west along the southern wall in the 
tiruch-churru-maligai , there is a fine image of Jvaraharadevar, 
facing north, followed by the sculptures of the 63 Saiva saints; 
further west along this wall, we have an excellent set of sculp- 
tures in stone of the Saptamatrikas, with Virabhadra (?) and 
Ganapati bracketing the group, facing each other and at right 
angles to the row of the seven Matrikas. In the south-western 
corner of the prakar a, facing east, is an image of Ganapati. Corres- 
pondingly on the north-western corner, we have a fine set of 
stone images of Karttikeya and His two Consorts, facing east. 
In the north-eastern corner, adjoining the northern wall and 
facing south is an image of Bhairavar. On the inner side of the 
eastern wall of the mahamandapa are images of Chandra in the 
north and Surya in the south. Close to Surya and near the 
doorway of the mahamandapa leading to the later-date agra- 
mandapa is an image of Adhikara-nandi. 

(ii) Bronzes : There are in this temple some of the finest bronzes 
of Pandi Nadu. The most captivating pieces among them are 
those of Nataraja, Sivakami, Manikkavasagar and Karaikkal 
Ammaiyar, all in one group, in a chamber to the north-east 
of the circumambulatory passage. 

The Nataraja image measures 112 cms (3' 8") from the 
base of the padmapitham to the top of the jatha, which is beauti- 
fully shaped and from tip to tip of the fingers of the outstretched 
arms breadthwise it measures 81 cms ( 2 ' 8"). From the top 
of the aureola ( ardhachandra element) to the base of the bhadra- 
pitham it measures 160 cms (5" 3"); there are 12 tongues of 
flame on either side of the ardhachandra , which rests on two 
pillars ( kals ) . Nataraja wears the jathamakuta, on which are the 
crescent moon and Ganga-Bhattari; He wears the usual main 
in the upper right arm and the fire in the upper left arm; the 
lower right in varada pose has the coiled snake on it while the 
fourth arm is in the gajahasta posture. He stands with His right 



184 MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 

foot on Muyalagan who is prostrate on his belly and holds a snake 
by the neck which lies along the entire length of Muyalagan’s 
body. He is on a padma pitham placed on a bhadra pitham. 

The equally beautiful and majestic image of Sivakami Amman 
standing on a padma pitham with a nilotpala in the right hand and 
the other arm falling gracefully and with a fine natural bend 
down the length of the left thigh, measures 84 cms ( 2 ' 9") . Both the 
Nataraja and Sivakami images rest on a common bhadra pitham. 

To the proper right of Nataraja, we have an image of Manik- 
kavasagar with the chevudi in the left arm and the right arm 
is in the chin-mudra pose. We have a small icon of Karaikkal 
Ammaiyar with sagging breasts and shrunken belly and holding 
cymbals in both hands. This entire group constitutes a fine set 
of bronzes in the true Chola tradition, installed in a Chola 
temple built in the Pandya country. The style of these sculptures 
may be termed Chola-Pandya. There are also two beautiful Soma- 
skandar metal images and a Tani-Amman. Besides, there are 
the icons of Appar, Tirunavukkarasar, Sundarar, Astradevar 
and Chandesvarar. Flanking the stone dvarapalas referred to 
earlier, there are, on the south, metal images of Bhikshatanar 
and of Kevala-Chandrasekharar. North of the dvarapala are 
images of Subrahmanyar and His two Consorts. All these are 
exquisite specimens of Chola-Pandya bronzes of the period 
(Pis 143 to 155). 

Inscriptions refer to the gift of a number of icons to the 
temple of Somanathar. Mentioned among them are images of 
Uloga Vitankar and Nityasundarar. While the former could 
be identified with the Somaskandar in the rear verandah adjoining 
the Ganapati icon, the identification of the latter presents some 
difficulty. Could it be the other Somaskandar image, on the 
northern side of the rear verandah? 

Inscriptions again refer to the gift in the days of Rajaraja I 
of two villages,^., Varandiyal and Kiranur for various services 
of the temple; they could be identified with Varandivel, a suburb 
of Attur, which is less than a kilometre from the temple and 
with another suburb which goes by its old name of Kiranur. These 
places are at present hamlets of Attur. 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 

PALLIKONDA-PERUMAL SHRINE 


185 

(ii) 


What is of special importance about this temple is the exist- 
ence of a shrine on the northern verandah of the prakara , dedi- 
cated to Pallikonda-Perumal, similar to the one at the Nelliyappar 
temple at Tirunelveli (see below) . The shrine is outside the wall 
of the tiruch-churru-maligai, the entrance to it being on its wall 
and the garbhagriha being in a cella built outside, with a wagon- 
shaped vimana. This shrine was built by Rajaraja I. The recum- 
bent Vishnu has His head to the west and the feet to the east 
and lies on a serpent whose coils however, are not to be seen 
above the floor level; the hood (with five heads) is a modern 
replacement. Sridevi and Bhudevi are seated. There is no Brahma. 
In the same chamber, on the western side, there are four bronze 
images of exquisite quality and finish, of Rama, Vishnu, Sridevi 
and dancing Krishna. The image of Rama is fascinating. His 
two arms are in the posture of holding the bow and arrow, 
which however, are not there now. He wears patra-kundalas. These 
icons measure 89 cms (2' 11"), 6g cms (2' 3"), 58 cms (T n"), 
and 61 cms (2') respectively. 


TIRUNELVELI 

NELLIYAPPAR TEMPLE (PALLIKONDAR SHRINE) 38 

Within the limits of the township of Tirunelveli, the head- 
quarters of the district bearing the same name, is a temple dedi- 
cated to Nelliyappar. As mentioned in the sthalapuranam of the 
Kailasapati temple at Gangaikondan, this is held to be one 
of the three early temples founded by Agastya and to have been 
established in a venu (bamboo) forest. In token of this origin, 
we still have a clump of bamboo bushes in the outer prakara ; 
bamboo is also the sthala-vriksha of the Nelliyappar temple. 

The temple, which dates possibly earlier than Rajaraja I, 
consists of a garbhagriha, an antarala and an ardhamandapa, and 
underwent considerable modification during the reign of Raja- 
raja I. The garbhagriha and the maharnandapa have been lop-sidedly 



MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


1 86 

widened to enable the erection of a sanctum for housing the 
stone sculpture of the reclining Vishnu (Pallikondar) of massive 
dimensions, to the north of the main sanctum and the antarala. 
Correspondingly, the ardhamandapa is asymmetrical with re- 
ference to the main shrine of Nelliyappar; the sanctum and the 
antarala of the latter and the sanctum of the Pallikondar shrine 
together share a common ardhamandapa , which has three rows of 
three pillars; the bathing platform in the ardhamandapa , however, 
being along the same axis as the Nelliyappar sanctum. 

We are here concerned with the Pallikondar shrine only, 
it being an addition made by Rajaraja I to the Nelliyappar 
temple. The ardhamandapa also is attributable to his age. 

To the north of the Nelliyappar sanctum is the chamber 
housing the image of Pallikondar (Vishnu in the anantasayanam 
pose) with his head to the west; the entrance to the chamber 
is on its eastern wall. The divine serpent (with its five-headed 
hood) is protecting the head of the Vishnu image; in front of 
this recumbent figure is an excellent metal image of Vishnu 
with four arms; the two upper arms carry the sankha and the 
chakra and what is peculiar to this sculpture (and a rare feature) is 
that the other two arms hold the amrita-kalasam, the pot of nectar. 
It can easily be assigned to the period of Rajaraja I as is the 
case with the Pallikondar image and the shrine. 

The garhhagriha and the ardhamandapa are enclosed in a 
surrounding peristyle with a circumambulatory passage, and, 
by the style of the pillars and other sculptural characteristics, 
both the prakara and the peristyle could be attributed to the age 
of Rajaraja I. The pillars of the peristyle are round, and the 
corbel is scalloped at the ends, while in the middle is a band 
with decorative designs; Ganapati and Subrahmanyar are 
housed in two shrines in the south-western and north-western 
corners (in the tiruch-churru-maligai ) . In the northern prakara, close 
to the ardhamandapa, are images of Valampuri-Ganapati and a 
dvarapala to the south of the entrance, and the other dvarapala and 
the icons of Subrahmanyar and His Consorts, to the north of 
it. Besides these icons, which are all in stone, there is a fine 
bronze of Kankalamurti to the west of the garhhagriha in the 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 


IS? 


peristyle of the first prakara. This is a noble specimen of Rajaraja 
bronze. In the second prakara, on the north-eastern corner, are 
some more bronzes; the most striking of them is a set of Nataraja 
and Sivakami, housed in a cella in the peristyle; there is also 
a stone sculpture of Mahishasuramardini, of fine workman- 
ship; in the north-eastern corner is a cella containing a stone 
sculpture of Bhairavar. The second prakara contains a maha- 
mandapa leading to the gopuram. On its front wall, close to the 
manimandapa, is a fine panel showing Cheraman Perumal and 
Sundaramurti. In this prakara, on the southern side, there is 
a good set of bronze icons of the sixty-three Nayanmars and a 
panel of the Saptarishis in stone, followed further west by a set 
of the sixty-three Nayanmars in stone. A treasured possession 
of this temple is a fine set of the four Saiva saints in bronze. 

GAN G AIKOND AN 

KAILASAPATI TEMPLE 39 

Gangaikondan is now a small, a very insignificant village 
on the trunk road from Madurai to Tirunelveli, 16 kilometres 
short of Tirunelveli. There are two temples in this village, one 
dedicated to Kailasanathar or Kailasapati (Siva), and the other 
a Vishnu temple to the west of the village, dedicated to Venka- 
tachalapati. We are here concerned with the Siva temple which is 
on the southern bank of the river Chirraru, whose ancient name 
was “Chitranadi”. The earliest name of this place is Sri Vallabha- 
chaturvedimangalam, a brahmadeyam in Kilkalar kurram. Even 
during the reign of Rajaraja I and the first few years of Rajendra I, 
the place continued to retain this name as seen from a twenty- 
sixth year inscription of the former and an eighth year inscription 
of the latter (ARE 160 and 165 of 1895). After Rajendra I’s 
conquest of the Gangetic delta region, this place was renamed 
Gangaikondasola-chaturvedimangalam as evidenced by an in- 
scription of Ko-Jatavarman Sundara Chola Pandya (ARE 162 
of 1895). 

The local legends incorporated in the sthalapuranam say that 



1 88 MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 

in the southern part of the Pandyan country, there were three 
temples consecrated by the sage Agastya, viz-, (i) the Nelliyappar 
temple in the venu (bamboo) forest (the modem town of Tirunel- 
veli), worshipped by Surya and considered to be the right eye 
of Siva, iii) the Tiru-kuta-achalesvarar temple in the champaka 
forest (the present-day Kuttalam), worshipped by Chandra 
and considered to be the left eye of Siva, and (iii) the temple 
of Kailasapati in the tintrini (tamarind) forest (Gangaikondan), 
worshipped by Agni and considered to be the third eye of Siva. 
(The tamarind tree is also called the Kalpaka tree.) After con- 
secrating these three temples, Agastya is said to have proceeded 
on to Malayachalam and lived with his wife Yogamudra on the 
banks of the river Tamraparni whose ancient name was “Tan- 
porundam” or “Tan Porunai” (SII, V, 724). According to the 
sthalapuranam, the temple at Gangaikondan was at a distance 
of a yojana from the venu vanam (Tirunelveli) and three yojanas 
from the champaka vanam (Kuttalam). The sthalapuranam goes 
on to mention the details of the deities in the temple. 

From an inscription of the twenty-sixth year of Rajaraja I 
found on the north wall of the temple, we could conclude that 
this temple, in some form, was possibly in existence even in the 
days of Parantaka I, who bore the title of Madirai-kondan ; there 
is mention of the existence of a lake in the neighbourhood of 
the temple called Viranarayana-eri, named after another sur- 
name of Parantaka I (ARE 160 of 1895; SII, V, 724). However, 
the present temple, on the basis of its structural characteristics, 
would appear to be the result of extensive renovations and 
modifications in the days of Rajaraja I and the viceroyalty of 
Rajendra I in Pandi Nadu. This record further mentions that 
provision was made for the worship of and offerings to the 
deities of Kshetrapalar and Durga in the temple of Sri Kailayam 
in Sri Vallabha-mangalam, a brahmadeyam in Kilkalar kurram in 
Rajaraja mandalam and mention is also made of the gift by the 
sabha of the village, of a flower-garden for the use of the temple. 
Among the boundaries of the temple is mentioned a big lake 
named Paramesvarap-pereri , perhaps Viranarayana-perieri , the lake 
mentioned earlier. 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA I*S TIME 1 89 

The main temple consists of a garbhagriha, an antarala and 
an ardhamandapcr, other structures and prakaras have been added 
later. These three are surrounded by a circumambulatory passage 
with a tiruch-churru-maligai. In the ardhamandapa, there are two 
beautiful, two-armed dvarapalas , one on either side of the entrance 
to the antarala, in the true Rajaraja-Rajendra style. 

Close to the north wall of the ardhamandapa and inside it, 
there are some fine metals of the days of Rajaraja I and Rajendra I. 
One of them is of Nataraja; from the base to the top of the 
aureola, it measures 137 cms (4' 6"). The Sivakami icon by 
its side is also of the same height, the pedestal being smaller. 
The ardha-chandra, the crescent and the Ganga Bhattari are there 
on the crown, while the jata is spread out in strands, three to 
to the right, three to the left and three let loose over the nape. 
The figure of the Amman is graceful, with the right hand holding 
a nilotpala flower. Close to this is a beautiful figure of Soma- 
skandar which has been brought from Pannikulam temple (near 
Kayattaru not far from here) and kept here for the sake of safety. 
In this, the image of Skanda is missing though the pedestal 
thereof is there. In the south-western corner of the mandapa 
are images of a Tani Amman and Siva as Pradoshamurti. The 
former holds a nilotpala flower in one hand while the other is 
in the varada pose. The latter is depicted with the abhaya and 
the ahuya poses (Pis 156 to 160). 

In the tiruch-churru-maligai, there are stone figures of Jvara- 
hara-devar, the 63 Tamil saints, a standing Ganapati on a lotus 
pitharn (in the south-west comer), Subrahmanyar (in the north- 
west corner) and Bhairavar (in the north-east corner). Outside 
of this wall, on either side of the entrance, are the large 
dvarapalas we have mentioned earlier. In the verandah of the 
second prakara there is a cella containing a stone figure of Nata- 
raja and His Consort, with Patanjali and Vyaghrapadar wor- 
shipping Nataraja, and there is a dimunitive figure of the fasting 
Karaikkal Ammaiyar. Inside, on either side of the gateway, are 
stone images of Surya and Chandra. There is also one of Adhikara 
Nandi. 

The temple of Kailasapati has a venerable old tamarind 



MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


igo 

tree for the sthala-vriksha, 5.48 ms (18') in girth at the root level, 
representing the kalpaka-vriksha of the local legend. 

PASUVANDANAI 

40 KAILASANATHAR TEMPLE 

Pasuvandanai, a small village in Tirunelveli district, is situ- 
ated about 22.5 kms (14 miles) in an easterly direction from 
Kayattaru, which in turn is 27.36 kms (17 miles) north 
of Tirunelveli town on the Tirunelveli-Madurai highway. 
Kayattaru is the place associated with the martyrdom of the 
later-day Tamil hero, Kattabomman. 

The temple has had a haphazard growth over the centuries 
so that no unified plan of construction is discernible; however, 
on a close study of the buildings, it is seen that the basic struc- 
tures are two independent shrines, both facing east, one dedi- 
cated to Siva (Kailasanathar) and the other to Karttikeya. 

Both the Siva and the Karttikeya shrines belong to the 
same period and bear the imprint of Chola construction. Each 
consists of a garbhagriha, an antarala and an ardhamandapa\ in 
the case of the Karttikeya shrine, these three constituents together 
form a rectangular structure with only a token recess between 
the latter two; this recess is decorated with koshta-pancharas . 
The side-walls of the garbhagriha and the ardhamandapa have 
shallow niches in the centre; they have no icons in them as 
elsewhere in the Pandya country. Close to the perimeter wall, 
there are shrines for Ganapati, Subrahmanyar and Bhairavar. 

The Kailasanathar shrine is an eka-tala structure, with a 
brick superstructure; the entablature is adorned with salas and 
kutas. There are sculptures over the hara and the griva; the former 
are Subrahmanyar on the elephant with His Consorts in the east, 
Dakshinamurti in the south, Lakshmi-Narasimha in the west 
and Brahma on a hamsa (swan) in the north; the griva-koshta 
figures are Dakshinamurti in the south, Yoga-Narasimha in the 
west, and Brahma seated on a lotus in the north. 

On grounds of style and the general architectural features, 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME I gi 

the Kailasanathar and Subrahmanyar temples should be assigned 
to the period of Rajaraja I. 


SERAMADEVI 

RAMASVAMIN TEMPLE 41 

(NIGARILISOLA VINNAGARAM) 

AMMANATHASVAMIN TEMPLE 42 

(CHOLENDRASIMHA-ISVARAM) 

DEYVISVARAM UDAIYAR TEMPLE 43 

Seramadevi, or Seraman-Mahadevi as it is referred to in 
inscriptions, is located in an attractive stretch of the right bank 
of the river Tamraparni and is 16 kms from Tirunelveli town. 
It has a number of ancient temples dedicated to Vishnu and 
Siva and is in fact a city of temples like Kanchipuram. Of them, 
as many as eight are of importance. Of these, we are concerned 
only with three which belong to the period of Chola hegemony 
over Pandi Nadu. 

Before going into the details of these temples, a word may be 
said about the place itself, as culled from the epigraphical material 
available from the walls of these temples. From an inscription 
of the twenty-fourth year of Rajaraja I found in the Ramasvamin 
temple, we gather that the village of Seramadevi was still called 
Seraman Mahadevi chaturvedimangalam and that the Rama- 
svamin temple was called Nigarilisola Vinnagar (ARE 180 of 
1895) ; in a third year inscription of Rajendra I found in the same 
temple, the place is described as Nigarilisola charuppedi- 
mangalam, a brahmadeyam in Mulli nadu (ARE 181 of 1895). 
Similarly from another inscription (ARE 192 of 1895) found in the 
Ambalanathesvarar temple (now called Ammanathasvamin 
temple) also in Seramadevi, we get the following passage: 

“Sri kovirajarajakesari-panmarana sri Rajaraja devarkku 
yandu 28-avadu Mulli nattu brahmadeyam Nigarilisola- 
saruppedimangalattu Solendra-singa isvarattu ... ” 



192 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


We may thus presume that the name of the village was changed 
from Seraman Mahadevi chaturvedimangalam to Nigarilisola 
chaturvedimangalam just before the twenty-eighth year of 
Rajaraja I. From a twelfth year record of Ko-Sadaiyavarman 
alias Udaiyar Sri Sundara Chola-Pandya deva (ARE 193 of 1895), 
found in the Ammanathasvamin temple, we get the name of 
the deity as “Kailayamudaiyar” (Kailasam Udaiyar) and the 
name of the temple as “Cholendra-simhesvaram” of Nigarilisola 
chaturvedimangalam in Mulli nadu, in Uttamasola valanadu 
in Rajaraja Pandi Nadu. We learn from later Pandyan records 
in these temples that the name of the village was changed back 
to Seraman Mahadevi chaturvedimangalam, evidently after 
the Chola rule over this territory weakened and in course of time 
ceased to be. 

41 RAMASVAMIN TEMPLE 

(NIGARILISOLA VINNAGAR) 

Among the eight temples of this place, three are located on 
the banks of the river Tamraparni, viz., the Vaidyanathasvamin 
temple, which is in the extreme west end of the area, followed 
by the Bhaktavatsalar temple which is about 0.80 km (half a 
mile) down-stream from the Vaidyanathasvamin temple, and 
finally the Ammanathasvamin temple which is at the north- 
eastern end of what should have been the old Seraman Mahadevi 
chaturvedimangalam. 

Ramasvamin temple is about 0.80 km (four furlongs) to 
the south of the river and is in the heart of the town; it is an 
imposing complex of buildings built over the centuries with 
accretions made from time to time by the Cholas, the Pandyas 
and later the Vijayanagara and the Nayak rulers. 

On the main wall of the central shrine, we have an inscrip- 
tion of Rajaraja I dated in the twenty-fourth year; it is in vat- 
teluttu and mentions a gift by Divakaran Vasudevan of 75 cows 
for three lamps to be burnt in the temple of Nigarilisola Vinnagar 
Alvar. Rajaraja I bore the title of Nigarilisola among others and 
so we may conclude that this village was renamed Nigarilisola 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 1 93 

chaturvedimangalam in the later years of Rajaraja I, and the 
temple of Vishnu built in this village was also named after him. 
It must have come into existence before his twenty-fourth regnal 
year. The Chola viceroy, Jatavarman Sundara Chola Pandya 
provided for offerings (tiruchchennadai) in the shrine of Uyyak- 
kondan within the temple of Nigarilisola Vinnagar, as found in 
a record of his fourteenth year, 320th day. Similarly, in the 
fifteenth year, a gift is made of land for tirumeykkappu in this 
temple, to a certain Parantakan Niranjan, a member of the Tisai 
Ayirattu Annurruvar Guild. A brahmana lady deposited an amount 
of six kasus in the hands of the Vaikhanasas for burning half a 
lamp in the temple of Nigarilisola Vinnagar Alvar in Nigarilisola 
chaturvedimangalam according to a fourth year record of 
Rajendra Chola deva I (ARE 708 of 1916). 

The temple consists of a squar e garbhagriha of side 2.44 ms 
(8') externally, an antarala and an ardhamandapa-, beyond them is 
an enlarged antarala with two openings at the sides; at the entrance 
from this second and outer antarala to the ardhamandapa , there 
are two dvarapalas. I he mula-vigraha is Adinarayana-svamin 
measuring 1.83 ms (6') from toe to kiritam standing on a pitham. 
The upper hands hold the sankha and the chakra and the other 
two are in the abhaya and the ahuya poses. Abreast of the Lord 
are Sridevi and Bhudevi, each with a flower in one hand, the 
other arm being in the kati-avalambita pose. Bhrigu and Markan- 
deya flank these images and face each other. 

In front of the mulasthana images are the utsava-vigrahas of 
Adinarayana accompanied by Sridevi and Bhudevi. 

In the ardhamandapa, we have a fine set of bronzes, grand 
by any standard, comprising Sita, Rama and Lakshmana, 
all in one row, and Hanuman (to their left). Local tradition 
has it that these fine bronzes were discovered from a well in the 
temple campus while it was being excavated. In the north-western 
corner of the ardhamandapa, we have a fine set of metal sculp- 
tures ol Alarmel-mangai, Sridevi, Venkatachalasvamin, Bhu- 
devi, Andal, Rukmini, Rajagopala (or Rajamannar) and Satya- 
bhama. Alarmel-mangai is in a seated posture, with lotuses 
held in the two upper arms, the two lower ones being in the 



194. MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 

abhaya and the varada poses. The metals of Venkatachalasvamin 
and His Consorts have been brought from the Appar (or Appan) 
Venkatachalasvamin temple and kept here for purposes of 
security. The Vishnu image (with Sridevi and Bhudevi brought 
from the Appar temple) is a gorgeous piece, with channavira, 
upavita, udarabandha and kaustubha; the upper arms of the image 
bear the sankha and the chakra, the other two being in the varada 
and the ahuya poses. Sridevi to His right has disc-shaped ear- 
rings and Bhudevi on His left holds the nilotpalam; Andal 
does not have her hair tied to one side as usual, but the entire 
bun at the rear is merely shifted slightly to her left. 

In addition to these bronzes, there are some on the northern 
side (middle portion) of the ardhamandapa. There are two sets 
of images of Vishnu with His Consorts, brought from the Nadu- 
vulappan temple and kept here for safety; one set is old and the 
other, of a somewhat later period. Then we have Visvaksena, 
dancing Krishna, Manavala Muni (sitting), a standing image 
of Tirumangai Alvar and Udaiyavar (Ramanuja). 

The entire ardhamandapa has the usual Chola type of pillars 
of the Rajaraja I-Rajendra I period (Pis 161 and 162.) 

The garbhagriha has three chambers, one above the other; 
the ground floor is the mulasthanam; the first floor contains an 
image of Vishnu as Virrirunda Perumal; the second floor cella 
contains an image of Paflikonda Perumal with Sridevi, Bhudevi, 
Bhrigu-rishi and Markandeya. The roofs of these two upper 
floors are supported by wooden beams with possibly flat tiles 
for the roof. The srivimana is of brick and is in three tiers. The 
sikhara is circular. The garbhagriha is 11.58 ms (38') square and is 
divided into seven segments each having a koshta-panchara ; the 
adhishthanam is 1.63 ms (5' 4") in height; the antarala projects 
0.53 m (T 9") forward while the ardhamandapa takes it forward 
by another 8.53 ms (28'); the second antarala is 3.96 ms (13') 
in length. Adjoining this temple and to its south is a temple 
of the later Pandya period, dedicated to the Consort of 
Vedanarayana. 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA I’s TIME 1 95 

AMMAN ATHASVAMIN TEMPLE: 

(CHOLENDRA-SIMHA-ISVARAM, 
AMBALANATHESVARAR OR KAILAYAMUDAIYAR) 42 

The next important temple at Seramadevi is the Mahadevar 
temple, now called Ammanathasvamin temple, whose original 
name during the days of the Middle Gholas was Cholendra- 
simha-Isvaram alias Kailayamudaiya Mahadevar temple at 
Nigarilisola chaturvedimangalam. This too bears a large 
number of inscriptions belonging to the days of Rajaraja I, 
from his twenty-fourth year onwards, and of his successors as 
well as their viceroys in charge of the Pandyan province. From 
these records, and from the absence of any other records of an 
earlier date on the walls of this temple one could conclude that 
this temple also came into existence during the days of Rajaraja I 
prior to his twenty-fourth year and thus was coeval with the 
Vishnu temple of Nigarilisola Vinnagar Alvar (ARE 612 of 
19 16 ). 

At the turn of the last century, this temple had come to be 
called Ambalanathesvarar temple. It lies to the north-east of the 
town, on the south bank of the river Tamraparni; it faces east 
and the railway line runs in front of the temple. 

It has a five-storeyed gopuram at the main entrance. It consists 
of the garbhagriha which is 4.57 ms (15') square externally and 
and has a height of 3.05 ms (10') from the ground level to the 
cornice. The antarala is 1.70 ms (5' 7") 'in length and this is followed 
by the ardhamandapa which projects 8.84 ms (29') forward. The 
ardhamandapa is also the snapana mandapa. There is the manimandapa 
in front. In the tiruch-churru-maligai we have in clock- wise order 
images of Adhikara Nandi, Surya, the four Saiva saints, Jvara- 
hara-devar, the Saptamatrikas with Virabhadra and Gana- 
pati flanking them, and Ganapati in the south-western comer. 
Adjoining the Ganapati image is another chamber containing 
the metal images of Somaskandar; along the western wall, there 
are bronzes of Chandrasekharar with Amman brought from the 
Deyvisvaram Udaiyar koyil, and a Tani Amman. In the north- 
west corner is Karttikeya. In the centre of the northern wall 



ig6 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


and close to it is the image of Sani (Saturn) while Chandra, 
facing west, is close to the east wall and adjoining the main 
entrance. Inside the ardha-cum-snapana mandapa are a number 
of fine bronzes including a set of Nataraja and Sivakami Amman 
brought and kept here from the Deyvisvarasvamin temple. 
The other bronzes in the temple are those of: Adhikara Nandi, 
Chandrasekharar, Seraman Perumal, Sambandar, Appar, Sun- 
darar, Manikka-vasagar, Agastyar, Chandesvarar and Kan- 
kalamurti (PI 163). 

To the south of this temple is an Amman shrine, the pre- 
siding deity of which now goes under the name of Avudai Nayaki 
Amman. This shrine, a foundation of the days of Rajaraja I 
or his son, was probably a Siva temple in those days. It was 
later converted into an Amman shrine, perhaps during or after 
the days of Kulottunga I. 

The temple of Ambalanathesvarar as a whole is thus a 
foundation of the days of Rajaraja I built before the twenty- 
fourth year of the king. 

43 DEYVISVARAM UDAIYAR TEMPLE 

This temple faces east and consists of a garbhagriha, an ardha- 
mandapa and a mahamandapa. The srivimana is in three talas ; in 
the shallow niches ( koshtas ) on the walls of the garbhagriha , there 
are decorative floral designs; in the insets of these designs, 
there are miniature sculptures of Dakshinamurti in the south, 
Narasimha in the west and Brahma in the north. The same deities 
are found in the koshtas of the first tier, over thej yali frieze, which 
in turn is above the cornice and runs the entire round of the 
entablature. In the adhishthanam , we have a frieze of elephants 
and yalis which bears great similarity to the frieze of the Sapta- 
rishisvarar temple at Lalgudy (Tiruchy district). 

Subshrines for all the ashta-parivara-devatas must have existed 
originally of which, however, only a few remain; the shrines 
for Bhairavar in the north-east and for Subrahmanyar in the 
north-west are noteworthy; the Bhairavar shrine appears to be 
original, and faces south; it consists of a low-roofed cella with 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 


197 


a porch in front supported by two pillars which are divided into 
segments with alternating square and octagonal cross sections, 
and the corbel intervening between the roof and the pillar 
is scalloped at the sides with a plain band in the middle. These 
features are typical of the days of Rajaraja I and Rajendra I. 
And so this shrine could be assigned to the days of Rajaraja I. 

TIRUPPUDAIMARUDIL 

PUTARJUNESVARAR (NARUMBUNADAR) TEMPLE 44 

Tiruppudaimarudil is about seven kms to the north of the 
town of Viravanallur, in Tirunelveli district. It is on the banks 
of the river Tamraparni. The temple of Narumbunadar, facing 
east, is located on a beautiful bend of this river, and with the 
various additions made to it in later times, the entire temple 
presents a picturesque scene. The inscriptions on the walls of 
this temple refer to the deity as Putarjunesvarar. 

The garbhagriha is 6.17 ms (20' 3") square; the adhishthanam 
measures 1.45 ms (4' 9") in height from the ground level. Each 
free wall of the garbhagriha is divided into three vertical elements, 
each decorated with a koshta-panchara , and separated from one 
another by low recesses. The width of the central element is 
3.12 ms (10' 3"). After the antarala, there is an ardhamandapa, 
which houses a number of fine bronzes. In the south-western 
corner, facing east, is a bronze of Chandrasekharar and Manon- 
mani. On the northern side, along the wall, there are images 
of Nataraja and Sivakami Amman, Sri Perumal and Kankala- 
murti, the last one a very fine figure. 

In the outer verandah, there is a sannidhi, not amounting 
to a shrine but constituting a chamber, where there is a fine 
set of stone sculptures of Nataraja, Sivakami, Patanjali and 
Vyaghrapada with Karaikkal Ammaiyar to the right of the 
Nataraja icon. 

The wall of enclosure of the second prakara has, close to it 
and on either side of the gopuram, icons of Surya and Chandra. 
There is a shrine for Bhairavar in the north-eastern corner of 



MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


198 

the prakara. There is a second wall of enclosure on which is 
located the outer gopuram. The Amman shrine housing Gomati 
Amman is in the second prakara. 

What is of importance in this temple is the Chandesvarar 
shrine, located close to and north of the main temple, and adja- 
cent to the antarala, and the ardhamandapa\ this forms a part of 
the original temple-plan and contains some valuable and informa- 
tive inscriptions. On the west wall of this shrine, we have a 
damaged and incomplete record of Rajaraja I (ARE 124 of 1905). 
There is another of the tenth year of the same ruler which men- 
tions a gift of land and bears signatures of donees in Grantha 
and Vatteluttu (ARE 123 of 1905). This is found on the north 
and east walls of this shine. There is a record of the twentieth 
year of Sadaiyamaran on the east wall making a reference to a ser- 
vant of Vira Pandya, and the village is therein called Tiruppu- 
damarudil, in Pandimarttanda valanadu (ARE 122 of 1905). 

On grounds of style and epigraphical evidence, this temple 
(without the later accretions) could be a foundation of the time 
of Rajaraja I. 

AMBASAMUDRAM 

ERICHGHA UDAIYAR TEMPLE 
45 (TIRUMULASTHANAM UDAIYAR) 

Ambasamudram is the headquarters of a taluk by the same 
name in the Tirunelveli district. It is on the Tamraparni and 
on its northern bank is the Erichcha Udaiyar temple. This 
temple consists of the central shrine which is called the Tiru- 
mulasthanasvamin shrine or the Tiruch-chalaitturai Mahadevar 
shrine. Nowadays however the deity of the central shrine is 
called Kasipanathar or Kasisvarar, a name the deity acquired in 
the recent centuries. The entire temple was called in the olden 
times Tiruchchalaitturai koyil. 

Among the inscriptions found on the walls of the garbhagriha 
of the central shrine, there are at least four which belong to the 
period of Rajendra I, and at least five, to the period of the 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA I’s TIME 


199 


viceroyalty of Jatavarman Sundara Chola-Pandya deva. The 
earliest of these inscriptions are two, both dated in the eighth 
regnal year of Rajendra I (ARE 71 and 73 of 1907). We may, 
therefore, presume that this temple in its present form came 
into existence in the early years of Rajendra I, or perhaps even 
in the later days of Rajaraja I (ARE 70, 71, 73, 75, 76, 78 
and 80? of 1907). 

The main shrine consists of a garbhagriha, a snapana-mandapa 
and an ardhamandapa and is surrounded by a courtyard circum- 
scribed by a tiruch-churru-maligai. 

There are a number of smaller shrines in the temple campus. 
Two of them, both of about the same age, are located in the 
northern verandah, one dedicated to Siva and the other to Vishnu. 
These two shrines are perhaps the oldest shrines in the temple 
complex and date back at least to the days of the Pandyan king 
Varaguna Maharaja. The deity of the Siva shrine is now called 
Erichcha Udaiyar, though in the inscriptions it was known 
as Tiruppottudaiyar or Tiruppottudaiya Bhatarar at Ilangoyk- 
kudi, a brahmadeya in Mulli nadu. The application of the 
name of Erichcha Udaiyar to the entire temple as well as to the 
deity of the small shrine in the north prakara has been the cause of 
much confusion. The earliest inscription to be found on the 
walls of the Siva shrine is one in Vatteluttu which mentions 
‘Vira Pandya who took the Chola head’ and refers to a gift of 
land (ARE 101 of 1907). On the south wall of the shrine, there 
is a Tamil record of the eighteenth year of Jatavarman Udaiyar 
Sundara Chola-Pandya deva relating to a gift of 60 sheep for 
a lamp and another of the eighteenth year of Rajaraja I 
refers to a gift of 25 sheep for a lamp to the deity who is 
called Tiruppottudaiya devar (ARE 99 and 98 of 1907). Thus the 
deity of tills small shrine now called Erichcha Udaiyar was 
known in the past as Tiruppottudaiyar. This shrine is the oldest 
part of the temple and dates back at least to the days of the 
Pandyan king Varaguna Maharaja (a.d. 765-815). This is 
attested by an inscription found embedded in the floor of the 
north prakara of the temple (ARE 105 of 1907) relating to his 
sixteenth regnal year ; Varaguna in the course of his wars with the 



200 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


Pallavas went as far north as Araisur on the banks of the Pennai 
river (in Tondai mandalam) from where (Araisur) he granted 
290 kasus to the temple of Tiruppottudaiyar at Ilangoykkudi 
in Mulli nadu. The shrine evidently underwent renovation 
sometime during the reign of Rajaraja I. 

Facing this shrine is the small cella of the Vishnu shrine, 
whose deity is called in the inscriptions Tiruchchalaitturai 
Ninralulina Emberuman of Ilangoykkudi, a brahmadeya in Mulli 
nadu. 

BRAHMADESAM 

46 KAILASANATHAR TEMPLE 

Brahmadesam is about 22 kms from Seramadevi and has 
an ancient temple dedicated to Kailasanathar, one of the biggest 
temples in the district of Tirunelveli. 

Brahmadesam, along with Tiruvalisvaram and Mannar- 
koyil which are both less than two kms from here, was part 
of an important military centre where Rajaraja I and his successors 
had stationed a strong army as they had done at Kottaru near 
Nagerkoyil. During their time, the three places came under a 
common jurisdiction known as Rajaraja-chaturvedimangalam 
which was a brahmadeyam. As will be seen in the section on 
Tiruvalisvaram, the Munrukai mahasenai was an important con- 
tingent of the Chola army stationed at this cantonment. 

The Kailasanathar temple perhaps came into existence 
during the days of Chola occupation of the Pandi Nadu. How- 
ever beyond a stray vatteluttu inscription of the period of Rajaraja I 
found embedded in the steps of the river in the village, we 
have little evidence of the shape of the temple during his time. 
The present day temple appears to belong to the late fifteenth 
century, the additions and renovations having gone on over the 
earlier centuries (ARE 373 to 381 of 1916). It is a vast complex 
consisting of the Kailasanathar shrine in the main axis ; to the 
north of it are the shrines of Sundaresvarar and Minakshi and 
further north of it is the Brigannayaki shrine; linking these 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 20 1 

three shrines is a common, multi-pillared, open hall called the 
Somavara mandapa] in the north-east corner of the campus is 
another, big, independent, multi-pillared hall called the Arudhra 
mandapa. All these shrines and halls are encompassed by a tiruch- 
churru-maligai. The main elu-nilai gopuram built during the days of 
Virappa Nayaka, son of Visvanatha Nayaka Krishnappa Nayaka 
of the Madurai Nayaka dynasty, dates back to the turn of the 
sixteenth century (ARE 377 of 1916) and stands in front of the 
Kailasanatha shrine (Pis 164 to 1 7 1 ) . 

There are a number of fine bronzes in this temple, some of 
which date back to the days of Chola hegemony over this region. 

TIRUVALISVARAM 

TIRUVALISVARAR (TIRU-IRAMISVARAM) TEMPLE 47 

The temple of Tiruvalisvaram, not far from the taluk head- 
quarters of Ambasamudram in Tirunelveli district, is set in the 
midst of green paddy fields, away from all habitation, on the banks 
of the river Ghatana, at the point where the river changes from 
a south-easterly to an easterly course. This river is said to take 
its name after the pot ( ghatam in Sanskrit) of Agastyar who is 
said to reside in the hills to the west of the temple. The temple 
is at a distance of about three kms from Mannarkoyil and about 
two kms from Brahmadesam and is reached only by a tortuous 
country txack. 

A structure entirely in stone from the adhishthanam to the 
stupi, and in a fine state of preservation, this temple is a beauti- 
ful specimen of Chola art of the middle period in the Pandyan 
region. There are a number of Chola, Chola-Pandya and Pandya 
inscriptions on the walls of the temple. On the north wall of the 
central shrine is a record of Rajaraja I dated in his eleventh 
year relating to a gift of land (ARE 116 of 1905). On the same 
wall, there is a Vatteluttu inscription dated in the eighteenth year 
of a king whose name is not mentioned, from which we learn 
of an agreement among the villagers of Rajaraja-chaturvedi- 
mangalam (ARE 1 1 7 of 1 90 1 ) . In another eleventh year inscription 



202 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


of Rajarajakesarivarman of Kandalur salai fame, i.e. Raja- 
raja I, the village is referred to as Rajaraja-chaturvedimangalam, 
a brahmadeyam in Mulli nadu, a sub-division of Rajaraja valanadu 
(ARE 1 1 9 of 1901). On a pillar near the bali-pitham, there is 
another inscription registering the victories gained by a corps 
of the Chola armv called Munru-kai-mahasenai, which further 
mentions that the temple of Tiruvalisvaram, its treasury and 
the temple servants were placed under the protection of this 
unit of the army stationed in the neighbouring military station 
of the Cholas. 

The temple faces east. It consists of a garbhagriha , an antarala 
and an ardhamandapa. Externally, the garbhagriha measures 4. 72 ms 
(15' 6") square, the antarala projects 2.72 ms (8' 11") forward and 
the ardhamandapa takes the building further forward by another 
7.75 ms (29' 5"), the width of this portion being 7.34 ms (24'). 
The adhishthanam measures 0.98 m (3' 2I") in height. It consists 
of the jagati, the octagonal kumudam, followed by a lively frieze, 
running the full round of the garbhagriha, showing animated 
figures of lions, yalis and elephants. A van tops the adhishthanam 
mouldings. The outer walls of the garbhagriha are plain without 
devakoshtas as is common in temples of the Pandya country. The 
prastara has a bhutagana frieze, a cornice and a yali frieze above 
it. The temple is dvi-tala with a hara over the garbhagriha. The 
hara comprises a central sala flanked by a kuta on each side, with a 
nidha in between the sala and the kuta. The griva rests on an 
octagonal slab whose side measures 1. 14 ms (3' 8"). At each of the 
corners of this platform, is a recumbent nandi. From the base 
of the griva to the top of the simhamukha over the grivakoshta, the 
height is 2.35 ms (7' 8"). 

The ardhamandapa is supported by eight pillars and eight 
pilasters. Outside the entrance to the ardhamandapa and on either 
side of it, there are two fine dvarapala images with two arms, 
typical of the period of Rajaraja I and Rajendra I. The tiruch-churru- 
maligai is intact in the south and west, the northern portion 
having collapsed. In the peristyle, there are stone sculptures of 
Jvaraharesvarar, the Saptamatrikas, a standing Ganapati in the 
south-western corner in a separate structure, and Karttikeya 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 


203 


similarly housed in the north-western corner. The Ganapati 
sculpture is a grand one, measuring 1.32 ms (4' 4") in height; 
Karttikeya, with six pairs of hands, is in a standing posture and 
the mount, the peacock, is to the rear. 

The most noteworthy feature of this temple, apart from the 
subdued beauty of its proportions, is the set of exquisite sculp- 
tures adorning the outer surfaces of the kutas, salas and the nidhas on 
all the three sides of the srivimana. Some of these sculptures are 
somewhat rare, and the others, though depicting oft-repeated 
themes are so delightfully carved that they deserve close descrip- 
tion. There are no sculptures on the eastern wing of the hara. 
We have five sculptures on each of the three sides, one in each 
corner on the kuta, one on the sala in the middle and two in the 
nidhas between the central sala and the kutas on the sides. Tak- 
ing the sculptures from the south-eastern corner and going round 
the hara in a clockwise order, they are : 

(i) South-kuta-eastern 

This is a sculpture of Gangadharar, Siva in the act of receiving 
the Ganga in his matted locks and simultaneously appeasing 
Parvati, who is annoyed at Siva’s diverted attention; also called 
Uma-prasadana, for this reason. 

(ii) South-nidha 

This is a sculpture of Vrishabhantikar, depicting Siva and 
Uma standing in a posture of embrace ( alingina ) while leaning 
against the Vrishabha. 

(Hi) South-s ala 

This is the niche which is usually earmarked for Dakshina- 
murti; there is a fine figure of Nataraja in the ananda tandava 
pose with one foot planted on the prostrate Apasmara. 

( iv ) South-nidha 

This is a rare sculptural representation of Siva. He stands 
in a posture of offering blessings; Parvati, as Sati, is standing 
in the background and below her is Daksha with a ram’s head 



204 MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 

(being fitted on to him by a gana). This is a sculpture of Daksha. 

(v) South-kuta-western 

This depicts Siva as Ardhanarisvarar, standing against a 
bull, with the Siva-half two-armed and the Parvati-half single- 
armed. 

(vi) West-kuta-southern 

This would appear to be a representation of Tripurantakar, 
as the central figure (Siva) is armed with bow and arrow in 
one pair of arms, the mriga and the parasu being held in the 
other pair. The figure has also been interpreted, with less justi- 
fication, as Kirata. 

(vii) West-nidha 

This is a sculpture of Kalantakar or Kalari, i.e., Siva (with 
eight arms) trampling on Kala (Yama). 

(mil) West-sala 

Lingodbhavar with Brahma as hamsa on the top and Vishnu 
as Varaha at the base of the linga ; flanking the image are again 
Brahma on the left and Vishnu with hands in the anjali pose 
on the right of the niche housing the Lingodbhavar image. 

(ix) West-nidha 

Siva is shown here as Kamantaka. Siva is seated in the 
sukhasana pose, with a yoga-patta holding the left uplifted knee 
on to the body. In the recess to the right of Siva is the figure 
of Kama encircled by flames caused by the anger of Siva 
disturbed in His meditation. To the left is shown Rati, the wife 
of Manmatha, in a pose of supplication seeking forgiveness 
from Siva for the misdemeanour of her husband. (*) 

(*) West-knta-northern 

This is a beautiful figure of Kankalamurti, with two hands 
engaged in beating the drum with a piece of bone, while the 
upper left hand holds the trident flung over the nape. A gana 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 2O5 

is carrying the begging bowl on his head and stands beside the 
main figure while the rishi-patni to his right offers him alms. 

(xi) North-kuta-western 

There is a standing female figure with the head tilted upwards 
in a posture of looking up to heaven in prayer and the two arms 
held in the anjali pose. She is standing on one leg and the other 
is lifted up and bent in the posture of urdhavajanu. There would 
appear to be the five fires ( panchagni ) surrounding her; she may 
be identified as Parvati engaged in her austere penace before 
her marriage to Siva. 

(xii) North-nidha 

As if in continuation and culmination of the penance scene 
above, this panel depicts Parvati being led and offered by her 
father Himavan in marriage to Siva who is shown seated in 
the sukhasana pose. The affectionate holding by the father of the 
shoulders of Parvati, the down-turned face of Parvati indicative 
of coyness, along with the anjali pose denoting her acceptance 
of the protection of Siva, present an altogether well-articulated 
scene of Parvati’s marriage and the theme of Kalyanasundarar. 

(xiii) North-sala 

This depicts Siva as Gajasamharamurti; the verve of action 
and the ease with which the annihilation is effected are brought 
out in this representation of the oft-repeated theme; the head 
of the elephant is shown to the left of the base with Siva’s left 
foot stamping on it, the skin of the animal being shown as the 
canvas for the entire panel, held aloft between a pair of Siva’s 
eight arms. The vigour of the action is shown by the wide spread 
of the matted locks and the stance and the flexion of the body. 
The other arms carry the usual weapons and assume the usual 
poses. 

(xiv) North-nidha 

This represents one of the finest themes in South Indian 
art; and under the section on Gangaikondacholisvaram we 



206 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


shall deal with an exquisite sculpture on this theme found in 
that temple. Siva and Uma are here shown as seated on the 
recumbent Nandi, and Siva is shown in the process of tying the 
nirmalya (garland) round the head of the supplicant Chandesa, 
who is seen accepting the blessings and grace ( anugraha ) of the 
Lord. This figure is known as Chandesa-anugraha-murti. 

(xv) Morth-kuta-eastern 

This icon is not easily identifiable; however one can see 
the figure of Siva seated in the sukhasana posture and a devotee 
performing abhisheka. 

In addition to this array of sculptures in the hara, there are 
four equally exquisite figures in the grivakoshtas. They are : 

(i) Indra seated on the divine elephant (Airavata) in the 
eastern niche; 

(ii) Dakshinamurti in the southern niche — the usual place ; 

(iii) Yoga-Narasimha (Narasimha in his yoga posture, with 
the yoga-patta tied round his upturned knees and the 
waist) in the western niche; and 

(iv) Brahma, seated on a lotus, in the northern niche. 

Outside the temple and close to the gopuram, in the north- 
eastern direction, is a shrine of Bhairavar, one of the ashta-parivara- 
devatas. On grounds of structural characteristics, it would appear 
to be of the same period as the main temple. 

The name Tiruvalisvaram is found mentioned, among others, 
in an inscription in this temple of a Chola-Pandya viceroy, 
Sundara Chola-Pandya deva of the post-Rajaraja I period 
(vide ARE 327 of 1916), which refers to a gift of five velis of 
land to the temple of Tiruvalisvaram Udaiya Mahadevar in Rajaraja- 
chaturvedimangalam, a brahmadeyam in Mulli nadu in Mudi- 
gondasola valanadu, a district of Rajaraja Pandi Nadu, for 
conducting festivals, feeding brahmanas, and reading the Siva- 
dharma ; the inscription mentions that the gift was made by the 
king from his palace at Rajendrasolapuram, at the request of 
the king’s maternal uncle ( ammanar ). Presumably the deity of 
this temple was known by the name of Tiruviramesvarar in the 
earlier days and later on came to be known by the name of 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA I*S TIME 


207 


Tiruvalisvarar, though unconnected with Vali in any manner. 
The inscriptions reveal that the name of Tiruvalisvaram applies 
both to the place and to the temple. 

To the south of this temple is the Amman temple of Soundara- 
nayaki. This must have been a Siva temple coeval with the 
main temple and later on converted into an Amman shrine, 
as has happened in the case of a number of temples built in the 
days of Rajaraja I and Rajendra I. On the west and north sides 
of the base of this temple, there are later Pandyan records. 

Surrounding the main Siva temple and the Amman temple is 
a second wall of enclosure which is of a later date. 

This temple is one of the finest structural stone temples 
built in the Pandya country. Its date is not easy to decide. It 
is clear that it should have been built by the Cholas during their 
imperial sway. There is no foundation inscription. The earliest 
inscriptions in this temple are two of the eleventh regnal year of 
Rajaraja I (a.d. 996). They are in vatteluttu characters. Herein, 
we find the village renamed Rajaraja chaturvedimangalam; 
but there is no indication that Rajaraja I was the builder of 
this temple. 

N.R. Banerjee of the Archaeological Survey of India has 
contributed a learned article to the Journal of the Asiatic Society 
(Vol. IV, 3 and 4 of 1962). In this he writes: “Stylistically, 
circumstantially, and on the basis of the indirect evidence of 
inscriptions, it is ascribed to the period of Parantaka, sometime 
before the accession of Rajaraja I” (p. 169), and again after 
examining epigraphical evidence, he adds: “It is most likely 
that the temple would have come into existence in the time of 
Parantaka, if not a little earlier.” He concedes that it is of early 
Chola style built early in the tenth century (pp. 169 and 177). 

K.A. Nilakanta Sastri writes: “The Siva temple at Tiruvalis- 
varam (Tirunelveli district) is a valuable museum of superb 
early Chola iconography of the time before Rajaraja I.” ( The 
Colas, second edition, p. 728). 

There is no possibility of this temple having come into exist- 
ence earlier than the period of Parantaka I. He had conquered 
the whole of the Pandya country after defeating Rajasimha, the 



208 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


last Pandya ruler of the First Pandyan Empire. His consolidation 
of the Pandya country is brought out by three inscriptions 
between a.d. 940 and 947.* It has to be added that Sundara 
Chola had to put down the revolt of Vira Pandya at the battle 
of Sevuru in about a.d. 963 (vide pp. 105 and 133 of my Early 
Chola Temples). But still a sort of political confusion bordering 
on anarchy would have prevailed in the Pandya country till 
the final consolidation of Chola rule under Rajaraja I and his 
son Rajendra I. 

So, a definite date for the construction of the Tiruvalisvaram 
temple is hard to fix. Without a full survey of all the Pandyan 
monuments no safe deduction as to style is possible. It is in- 
credible but a fact that a complete survey of Pandyan temples 
has not been done even after a century of work by the Archaeol- 
ogical Survey. 

Parantaka I must have been in possession of this strategic 
area on the well-established military route to Kottaru on the 
west coast.* In India, Art follows the flag. This temple might 
have been started during the last phase of Parantaka I’s rule in 
the middle of the tenth century (about a.d. 947) and completed 
just after Rajaraja I’s conquest of the Pandya country (between 
a.d. 988 and 996). His eleventh year inscription might indicate 
this stage. 

An observation may be ventured. Some features of this temple 
resemble those of the Muvarkoyil at Kodumbalur, to be assigned 
to the days of Sundara Chola who also claims to be a conqueror of 
Madurai and an invader of Sri Lanka. The arrangement of the 


*Thirty-third year at Anaimalai (ARE 63 of 1905; SII,III,io6), thirty-sixth year at Kuttalam 
(ARE 448 of 19x7) and fortieth year at Suchindram (ARE 82 of 1896). 

**Parakesari inscriptions which could be attributed to Parantaka I are found in southern 
Pandya country at Kuttalam, Kanya Kumari and Suchindram: 


2 ISt 

year 

Kuttalam 

ARE 439 of 1917 

22nd 


99 

>, 44i 

24th 


99 

»» 442 

25th 

>» 

99 

» 443 

27th 

93 

99 

„ 438 

31st 

99 

Kanya Kumari 

T.A.S., I., p 237 

34th 

» 

Suchindram 

ARE 81 of 1896 

35* 

99 

99 

ARE 447 of 1917. 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA I’s TIME 209 

salas and the karnakutas and the installation of vimana-devatas 
are similar, though the shape of the sikharas is different. 

Another feature that strikes us, on a careful study of this 
temple, is that the superb vimana-devatas in their numbers and 
variety are not fitted correctly and elegantly into the niches. 
The heads of the central figures in the koshtas of the second tala 
are not on the same axis as the apex of the simha-lalatas over the 
koshtas (see figures of Kalari and Gajasamhara). It seems to be 
a case of later insertion (Pis 172 to 176). 

With such an uncertain background and lack of clear epi- 
graphical evidence, it is difficult to come to a definite conclusion 
on the date of this temple. It seems to me to be safe to ascribe 
this temple to the latter half of the tenth century and deem it a 
monument started in the days of Parantaka I near his military 
station of Brahmadesam and completed by Rajaraja I during 
his early days after the conquest of Pandi Nadu and maintained 
for the benefit of his own men stationed there and of the local 
population. 

The deep interest, nay even concern, Rajaraja I had evinced 
in this temple and its affairs is reflected in an undated inscription 
of this period which mentions that the temple of Tiruvalis- 
varam, all its belongings, its priests and servants were placed in 
chai'ge of the Munru-kai-mahasenai (a regiment of the imperial 
army) . 


NAGERKOYIL 

CHOLISVARAM TEMPLE 48 

The southernmost tip of the peninsula received as much 
attention from the suzerain as the heartland of the Cholas, the 
Chola mandalam, and their mandate was enforced through 
military stations set up at Kottaru among other places; it is 
now a suburb of Nagerkoyil in Kanyakumari district. In this 
region there are numerous temples built during the Chola 
period. 



210 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


(/) BHUVANA N AND IS VARA R TEMPLE: 

One among them is a half-ruined temple close to Kanya 
Kumari town on the road leading to it from Nagerkoyil. The 
temple, presently called Bhuvana nandisvaram was known in 
ancient days as Rajarajesvaram, after Rajaraja I. This should 
have come into existence even during his life time or within 
three years of his death, as the earliest inscription found on the 
walls of this temple dates back to the fifth regnal year of Rajendra I 
(ARE 103 of 1896). There are a number of subsequent records 
of Rajendra I mostly relating to gifts of lamps and provision for 
services, and belonging to his 24th, 25th, 29th and 31st years. 
There are also records of Rajadhiraja I; one of his, of the 31st 
year, refers to the conquest of the Kupaka kingdom, which 
extended over the present day district of Kanya Kumari in 
Tamil Nadu and the southern parts of Kerala state (ARE 96 
of 1896). There are inscriptions of the later Chola ruler Vikrama 
Ghola too in this temple. 

(II) KANYA KUMARI TEMPLE: 

Dominating the southernmost point of the Indian peninsula 
and scanning the three seas is a temple dedicated to the Goddess 
Kanya Kumari, one of the few ancient and venerated Amman 
temples in Tamil Nadu that existed even before the period of the 
Later Cholas when separate independent Amman shrines and 
temples as adjuncts to the central shrine came to be built. An 
inscription of Parantaka I’s dated in his 9th year confirms that 
the Chola king was well in control of the Pandyan region; it 
specifies the boundaries of the temple land (ARE 108 of 1896). 
From an inscription attributable to Rajendra (perhaps II), we 
learn that this centre also bore the name of Gangaikondasola- 
puram, derived from a surname of Rajendra I. 

(III) STHANUNATHA TEMPLE, SUCHINDRAM : 

Suchindram lies between Kottaru (Nagerkoyil) and Kanya 

Kumari, and the temple of Sthanunathar along with the Kailasa- 
nathar shrine in it is an old and famous temple there. Numerous 
inscriptions of the Early and Middle Chola rulers and the Chola 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 


21 1 


Pandya viceroys are found there. The two records of “Kop- 
Parakesarivarman who took Madurai and Ilam”, Parantaka I, 
are dated in his thirty-fourth and fortieth years and relate to 
gifts for lamps.* 

(IV) CHOLISVARAM TEMPLE, NAGERKO TIL: 

The notable contribution of the Cholas in this region is, 
however, the Cholisvaram temple, whose original name when 
it was set up in the Chola military station of Kottaru was Cholis- 
varam Udaiya Nayanar temple; Kottaru has now been swallowed 
up by the new city of Nagerkoyil and has assumed the modest 
status of a suburb under the name of Oliginach-cheri, having 
gone under the name of Cholarajapuram a century back.** 

This temple must have been set up in the years just before 
the i ith regnal year of the viceroy of Rajaraja I, viz., Rajendra I 
himself, who as viceroy bore the title of Ko-jatavarman Sundara 
Chola Pandya deva; for we find that a number of gifts of lamps 
were made to this temple in his nth year, one of which is made 
by a certain Sarvalokasraya Sri Vishnu vardhana Maharaja 
alias Salukki Vijayadittan Vikkiyannan (ARE 30 to 46 of 1896). 
All these inscriptions are found on the prakara walls. During the 
days of Kulottunga I, the original Middle Chola temple was 
reconsecrated as seen from an inscription recording a grant 
to the temple made by Kulottunga I in the thirtieth year and 
180th day from his palace at Kanchipuram. One of the local 
officers of this Chola king, Mulliyur Udaiyan Araiyan Madhu- 
rantakan alias Kulottungasola-Kerala-rajan of Manni nadu in 
Chola mandalam (re-) built the temple under the name of 
Rajendra-solisvaram which was perhaps its original name, and 
to this temple, Kulottunga I granted the village of Andayakkudi 
renamed Rajendrasola-nallur, as a devadana iraiyili (ARE 31 of 


♦Other inscriptions are ARE 67, 75, 71 and 85 of 1896, all relating to Rajaraja I in vatteluttu 
and ARE 69 and 76 of 1896 of the viceroys. 

♦♦Some 70 years back, when the Government Epigraphist visited this temple, he described 
it as being located in the suburb of Nagerkoyil known then as Cholarajapuram, which name has 
changed today and is remembered only by the older men in the area; he also mentioned it as 
being located close to the Post-office building, which is now gone; we had trouble tracing the 
temple during our field study. 



212 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


1896 — See Laddigam by B. Venkataraman, pp. 34, 35). Even 
this inscription is on the prakara wall. In the fourteenth century, 
the temple underwent major remodelling, according to a record 
dated in Saka 1293 (a.d. 1371), at the hands of a later Pandyan 
ruler Parakrama Pandya (ARE 30 of 1896). 

The temple faces east and consists of the garbhagriha, the 
antarala and the ardhamandapa ; the square garbhagriha measures 
17 5§ i n - (5- 2 3 m ) side; the antarala projects 4 ft. (1.22 ms) 

forward; the ardhamandapa measures 27ft. 6 in. (8.38 ms) square 
externally. There are four pilasters in each side wall of the 
garbhagriha and the token niches in the middle are too shallow 
to accommodate any icons, in true Chola-Pandya tradition. In 
the sala niches in the three directions are Brahma in the north, 
Narasimha in the west and Dakshinamurti in the south; the 
icons are repeated in the griva niches above. There is an open 
courtyard ( prakara ) round the temple with a wall of enclosure 
( madil ) ; the entire edifice is on a raised ground and is reached by 
a high flight of steps from the eastern side. 

There is a very- well-turned-out bronze image of Somaskandar 
kept in the ardhamandapa, belonging to the Later Chola period. 

A later Pandya addition, the Amman shrine, lies to the south 
of the Siva temple, and the Consort goes under the name of 
Pumkulali. 

(V) DARISANAMKOPPU TEMPLE: 

About 10 miles (16 kms) north of Nagerkoyil is an apsidal, 
ekatala temple, built during the days of Rajaraja I. It bears an 
inscription of this ruler. 

(VI) GUHANATHASVAMW TEMPLE 

At Kanyakumari, there is another Chola temple, built in 
the days of Rajaraja I. The original temple, dedicated to 
Guhanathasvamin consisted of the garbhagriha and the ardha- 
mandapa. The front hall is a later addition. 

The temple preserves the original devakoshta sculptures of 
Ganesa and Dakshinamurti in the south, Yoga-Narasimha in the 
west, and Brahma in the north. There might have been a figure 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 


213 


of Durga on the north side of the ardhamandapa (see The Arts 
and Crafts of Kerala , Paico Publishing House, Madras, pp. 47- 
73; Illustrations II). 


MATTOTTAM 
( Alias Rajarajapuram) 

RAJARAJA-ISVARAM 49 

As a part of his plan of extending the limits of his already 
vastly grown empire, Rajaraja I invaded Sri Lanka (Ceylon) 
and brought the entire island under his suzerainty and made it 
a province of the Chola empire, giving it the new appellation of 
Mummudi Chola valanadu or mandalam after one of his own 
surnames. Anuradhapura, the capital of Ilam (Sri Lanka), a 
city with a flourishing past of more than a thousand years, was 
sacked, and a new capital was established at Polonnaruva, a 
more centrally situated place and an ancient military station of 
the Sinhalese, otherwise called Kanavaru Nuvara (a camp city). 

There is an inscribed (mutilated) slab preserved at the museum 
at Colombo which contains a reference to a temple whose deity 
is named Rajaraja-Isvarattu-Mahadevar at Mandottam alias 
Rajarajapuram in Mummadisola mandalam. This temple was 
evidently named after Rajaraja I and the place was also similarly 
named (ARE 616 of 1912; SII, IV, 1412). This inscription relates 
to a gift of land to this temple by one Tali Kumaran, a headman 
of Sirukurranallur in Velar nadu, a sub-division of Kshatri- 
yasikhamani valanadu, which was a province of Chola mandalam. 
This gift was given as an iraiyili devadanam for the midnight 
service and for celebrating the festival of Vaikasi Visakham. 

Mandottam (or Mattottam) has been identified with Mantota, 
opposite the southern end of the island of Mannar, where there 
are some ancient remains including those of a celebrated temple 
dedicated to Tirukedisvarar, a temple in Ila-nadu (Sri Lanka) 
sung by the Tamil saint Sambandar (seventh century a.d.). 

On one face of a pillar preserved in the Colombo Museum, 
there is a mutilated inscription containing a fragment of the 



214 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


historical introduction of Rajendra Chola I (ARE 6 1 8 ol 1912; 
SII, IV, 1414); on another face of the same pillar, there is a 
mutilated inscription which mentions a gift of four kasus for a 
twilight lamp ( sandhi-vilakku) by a royal officer of Udaiyar 
Rajendra Chola deva I ( perundanattu pani-magan ) by name 
Sirukattur Udaiyar . . devam chandi . . . . , to the temple here 
called that of Tiruviramisvaram Udaiya Mahadevar at Mandot- 
tam alias Rajarajapuram. There is a reference here to Rishabha- 
vahana devar, possibly an icon set up in the temple. Could this 
temple be the same as the Rajaraja Isvaram Udaiya Mahadevar 
shrine ? 

Though, unfortunately, we have no trace of this temple, the 
two inscriptions definitely establish the existence of at least one 
Chola temple at Mandottam during the reign of Rajaraja I. 

POLONNARUVA 

50 SIVA DEVALE (DEVALAYA) NO. 2 

(I) VANAVAN MADEVI ISVARAM 

(II) PALLIKONDAR SHRINE 

Polonnaruva, which lies between the 26th and 27th mile posts 
on the Habarana (Giritale) Batticaloa road, bore various names 
in the past such as Pulastipura, Pulainari and Vijayarajapura, 
and was renamed Jananathapura or Jananatha-mangalam in 
Nigarilisola mandalam after Rajaraja I’s conquest. In this new 
capital, many Buddhist and Jain temples already existed side by 
side. A number of Siva temples were added during the Chola 
rule (Bell’s Report on Epigraphy, 1909-10, p.9). Very few of 
these, however, have survived. The most important among such 
survivors is a Siva temple designated “Siva Devale 2”. 

Vanavan Madevi Isvaram: There are three Chola inscriptions 
found in this temple. The earliest of them is a fragmentary record 
of Rajendra I found on the south wall of the temple (ARE 595 
of 1912; SII, IV, 1389 — this record is referred to in the Sri Lanka 
Literature as Inscription E). The remaining two records relate 
to the period of the short-lived Chola ruler Adhirajendra. One 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 


215 


of them (ARE 596 of 1912; SI I, IV, 1392 — referred to as Ins- 
criptions A, B and C in Sri Lanka Literature) refers to a gift of a 
perpetual lamp and a tar a lamp-stand to the temple of Vanavan 
Madevi Isvaram Udaiyar, the Lord of Jananathamangalam 
(the new name of Polonnaruva), the gift being placed under the 
protection of the Mahesvaras and other members of a local com- 
mittee. The date of this inscription is missing but it would 
appear to relate to his third year; it begins with his historical 
introduction tingaler malarndu. The other inscription of Ko- 
Parakesarivarman Udaiyar Sri Adhirajendra devar is dated in 
his third year (ARE 594 of 1912; SII, IV, 1388). His accession 
was in A.D. 1067-68 and his highest regnal year was third; so 
this inscription could be ascribed to the early part of a.d. 
1070. This mentions a gift of money (five kasus ) for a perpetual 
lamp in the temple of Vanavan Madevi Isvaram udaiyar at 
Jananathamangalam: The name of a petty chief Cholap-palla- 
varaiyan of Sonadu is mentioned in this record. 

Vanavan Mahadevi alias Tribhuvana Mahadevi was a 
queen of Rajaraja I’s and the mother of Rajendra I. It, 
therefore, appears reasonable to infer that the Siva temple, 
known by the name of Vanavan Madevi Isvaram, was built 
during the reign of Rajaraja I, possibly by his son Rajendra I, 
who was the father’s viceroy in the southern provinces of the 
empire. 

There is an inscription of the third regnal year of Rajaraja I 
at Tiruvenkadu (Tanjavur district) which mentions a gift of 
a lamp to this temple by Udaiya Pirattiyar Tambiranadigal 
Vanavan Madeviyar alias Tribhuvana Mahadeviyar, the queen 
(. narnpirattiyar ) of Rajaraja I and the mother ( achchiyar ) of 
Rajendrasola devar (SII, V, 982: ARE, 1 1 7 of 1896). This con- 
firms the association of this queen of Rajaraja I with the temple 
at Polonnaruva. 

Pallikondar shrine : On the south wall of this temple is another 
inscription (ARE 595-A of 1912; SII, IV, 1390; inscription D 
in Sri Lanka records), which refers to a shrine of Pallikondar 
within the temple of Vanavan Madevi Isvaram udaiyar ( Vanavan 
Madevi Koyir-pallikondar) . Another brief inscription also found 



_>[6 MIDDLE CIIOLA TEMPLES 

on the south wall (ARE 595-B of 1912; SII, IV, 1391) mentions 
the consecration of the image of Alagiya Manavalar (Krishna) 
{alagiya manavalarai elundarulivittu). There are no Vishnu shrines 
either intact or in ruins within the premises of this temple (Siva 
Devale 2) ; but there do exist the ruins of a Vishnu temple of 
stone, about a third of a mile (0.54 km) to the west of this temple 
and within the city wall at its northern gate. Perhaps the two 
Vaishnavite images referred to above were housed in this Vishnu 
temple. 

We have examples of a Pallikondar shrine in a Siva temple 
at other places too, as for instance in the Somanathesvarar temple 
at Attur-Sendamangalam and in the Nelliyappar temple at 
Tirunelveli, both in Pandi Nadu. 

Siva Devale no. 2 is situated in a vast compound measuring 
29.26 ms (96') by 25.60 ms (84'). A wall of enclosure for the 
temple was built at a later date. The temple is a dvitala structure 
facing east, and consists of a garbhagriha and an ardhamandapa ; 
only the basement of the latter survives. It is built of granite and 
sandstone. The adhishthanam has an octagonal kumudam. The 
central shrine has three projecting niches, one each in the centre 
of the three free sides. There is a cornice adorned with kudus 
in the first tala. The second tala contains the bhadra-sala in the 
centre and two karna-kutas at the corners; above it, we have the 
griva and an octagonal, curvilinear sikhara. There is no stupi 
at present. There is a nandi in front. The garbhagriha is 9.14 ms 
(30') square and the srivimana is 9.75 ms (31' 9") high measured 
from the courtyard floor (PI 177 ). 

The only surviving memorial of the rule over Sri Lanka 
of Rajaraja I and Rajendra I, this fine temple in Sri Lanka, 
simple but grand in design, still majestic in its bearing and built 
on the best traditions of the sthapatis of the mother country, is 
a symbol of the artistic and cultural influence exercised by the 
Imperial Cholas in the conquered provinces. 

Siva Devale JVo. 5: Adjoining Siva Devale No. 2 are some 
inscribed pillars containing the names of individuals who were 
evidently the donors of the respective pillars for a temple that 
is now no longer there. The donors were apparently prominent 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 21 7 

men from the mainland, their names being associated with 
sacred centres like Chidambaram and Tiruvaiyaru. 

We know nothing more of this temple. 


KALPE KORALE 

UTTAMA CHOLA ISVARAM UDAIYA MAHADEVAR 

TEMPLE 

Of this temple at Kalpe Korale in Sri Lanka, we know very 
little beyond the name. On a pillar slab at Etakade in Kalpe 
Korale, there is an inscription of the twenty-eighth year (possibly 
of Rajaraja I) which registers a gift of three velisoi land for a lamp 
to the temple of Uttama-Chola-Isvaram Udaiya Mahadevar, 
by a certain Arangan Iramesan (ARE 615 of 1912). In all likeli- 
hood this temple was built during the days of Rajendra I’s viceroy- 
alty in Sri Lanka. 


MALURPATNA 

ARKESVARAR (ARUMOLIDEVISVARAM UDAIYA 

MAHADEVAR) TEMPLE 51 

N AR A Y AN AS V A MY (JAYANGONDASOLA VINNAGAR 

ALVAR) TEMPLE 52 

On the road from Bangalore to Mysore, there is a country 
track that takes off from the highway at a point 2\ kms south- 
west of Chennapatna, the present taluk headquarters, to reach 
Malur-Patna which is at a distance of 8 kms along this track in 
a southerly direction. In the olden days, Dodda-Malur, where 
the temples of Kailasesvarar and Apprameyasvamin are located, 
as well as Malur-Patna, which is also on the western bank of the 
river Kanva about 8 kms south of Dodda-Malur, evidently 
constituted adjoining administrative urban units, under the 
names of Rajendrasimha chaturvedimangalam and Nigarilisola- 
puram, names given to them during the Middle Chola period. 



2 l8 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


Nigarilisolapuram was evidently a nagaram, an urban unit 
administered by the mercantile community, since in one of the 
inscriptions dated in a . d . 1007, the nagarattom (the members of the 
mercantile community constituting a guild) of Nigarilisolapuram 
is referred to. 

In this township there were two fine temples built during the 
days of Rajaraja I, one named Arumolisvaram Udaiya Maha- 
devar temple, dedicated to Siva, and the other Jayangondasola 
Vinnagar, dedicated to Vishnu. Today they are in a sad state 
of neglect and stand out as two decrepit reminders of the glorious 
days that they had known. They are set in the midst of cultivated 
fields and are now outside the village limits in a westerly direc- 
tion. There is a grand lake as one approaches the village from the 
east, which must have been a gift of the Cholas to the prosperous 
township close by. 

The two temples now called Arkesvarar temple and Narayana- 
svamy temple are separated from each other only by a hundred 
metres or so. 

51. Arkesvarar(Arumolisvaram Udaiya Mahadevar) temple* 

Seven inscriptions have been found on the walls and pillars 
of this temple. Of them the earliest are dated in a . d . 1013 and 
1015 respectively. The former, found engraved on the outside 
of the south wall, is dated in the second regnal year of Kop- 
Parakesaripanmar alias Sri Rajendrasola devar and is incomplete, 
but we get the information that certain inhabitants of Manalur, 
including Kottayan Uttaman alias Solavichchadirag-Gamundan 
and Vidiyan Kottayan alias Idava Gamundan received some 
assets as a gift in favour of the god Arumolidevisvaram Udaiya 
Mahadevar of Nigarilisolapuram, which was a portion of “this 
village”, for conducting the festivals of the god (EC, IV, CN, 
135). Similarly, in the fourth year of Rajendra I, certain members 
of the chaturvedimangalam, the first part of whose name is missing 
in the inscription, received full payment in gold and gave full 


*Aiso called Amritesvara temple (cf. Early C/tola Art /, PI. 104) 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 


2ig 


possession of certain lands, whose boundaries and other details 
are specified, as tax-free devadana, for Arumolisvaram Udaiyar 
of Nigarilisolapuram, which was a portion of Manalur in Kilalai 
nadu. There was also a grant for the drummers at the temple 
(EG, IV, CN, 139). Two other records are dated in a.d. 1152 and 
1 150 respectively, and mention the gift of one pon for a bell-metal 
censer and bell by one Madurantaka devan’s son, Palliperiyan, 
and the gift of a certain sum of money to Gomali by Malaiyandan, 
the headman of Merpadi, in order to provide for the night 
offerings of rice for the god, who continues to be called almost 
a hundred and fifty years later, by the same name of Arumolis- 
varam Udaiyar (EC, IV, CN, 136 and 138).* We are aware 
that a few decades earlier this region had temporarily gone back 
to the hands of the Hoysalas but was retaken by the Cholas 
during Vikrama Chola’s rule. 

This temple, now called that of Arkesvarar, came into existence 
during the early part of the rule of Rajaraja I and along with the 
temples of Rajendrasimha-isvaram and Jayangondasola-vin- 
nagar, received considerable attention from the local bodies in 
this region during the period when the Cholas were ruling this 
area and also under the Hoysalas. The deity was named after 
one of the earliest names of Rajaraja I, Arumolidevan. 

This temple faces west and is eka-tala\ it consists of the 
garbhagriha, the ardhamandapa and the mahamandapa in front. 
Fortunately the sikhara is still in position though its massive 
stones have been loosened by rank vegetation growing from the 
crevices. The square sikhara is reminiscent of the many structures 
of Rajaraja I’s period as well of the later years of the Early Chola 
phase. The griva-koshtas are empty. The garbhagriha walls have 
niches in the middle, with flanking pilasters, and square pilasters 


♦There is a record dated in a.d. 1159, when Mahamandalesvara Tribhuvanamalla, cap- 
turer of Talaikkadu and other areas, was ruling the region. Malaiyandan, the headman of 
Merpadi, gave three pon for maintaining a perpetual lamp in the temple of the god Arumolich- 
charam udaiyar at Manalur alias Nigarilisolapuram in Kilalai nadu of Irajendirasola valanadu 
in Mudigondasola mandalam (EC IV, CN, 137). There is a fragmentary inscription (a.d. 
1 160) which merely mentions Vira Ganga Jagadekamalla Poysala Sri Narasimha devar as 
ruling the earth. The rest of the inscription is lost. The region continues to be called Mudi- 
gondasola mandalam. 



220 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


further away on either side. The garbhagriha measures 4.25 ms in 
breadth and 4.95 ms in length along the axis of the temple; the 
ardhamandapa is 3.20 ms in length along the axis of the temple and 
is 3.75 ms in breadth; the mahamandapa in front which widens 
out is 9.10 ms in breadth and 6.20 ms in length along the axis; 
thus from the rear wall of the garbhagriha to the front of the 
mahamandapa , the length of the temple is 1 5 ms. The ardhamandapa , 
in ruins, is supported by four very beautifully carved round pillars. 
The southern wall has partially collapsed. The mahamandapa is 
in shambles; the roof has given way in many places. There are 
three rows of pillars, six to a row; the mahamandapa was complete- 
ly walled up on all sides except for the front entrance; there is 
a brief inscription on the inner surface of the western wall of this 
mandapa, which is in fine calligraphy and mentions the name of 
the temple, Arumolisvaram (Pis 178 and 179). 

52. Narayanasvamy Temple (Jayangondasola Vinnagar 
Alvar) 

Eight inscriptions have been recorded on the walls of this 
temple. They range over a short span of time, from a.d. 1007 to 
1030. There are four inscriptions in the year a.d. 1007, and 
relate to various gifts made to this temple at the time of consecra- 
tion of the deity, which is called in the inscriptions Jayangonda- 
sola-Vinnagar-alvar. 

In the 23rd year of the reign of ‘Sri Kovirajarajakesaripanmar 
alias Irajaraja devar’, the members of the assembly of Periya 
Malavur alias Irajendirasingach-charuppedimangalam in 
Kilalai nadu of Gangapadi, “assembled without a vacancy” 
“in the temple of the god Jayangondasola- Vinnagar-alvar at 
Nigarilisolapuram, which was a portion of Manalur of this nadu, 
on the day the above god was set up” and made a grant of certain 
lands, to provide for a daily offering of 2 nalis of rice for the god. 
The members of the assembly bound themselves to plough and 
cultivate the lands themselves and to bring to the temple and 
measure out fully, with the marakkal named Jayangondasolan, 
a certain quantity of clean paddy; they also authorised pujaris 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 


221 


to receive suttukkadan and a share of the produce of the above 
lands (EC, IV, CN, 128). 

Similarly, the members of the assembly of Punganur alias 
Tirailokkiya-madevich-charuppedimangalam in Kilalai nadu 
of Gangapadi made, on the day the god Jayangondasola-Vin- 
nagar-alvar was set up at Nigarilisolapuram, a grant of certain 
lands as a devadana, exempt from taxes, for daily offering of 2 nalis 
of rice for the above god. This order was written down as a sila- 
sasanam (order in stone) under the direction of the assembly by 
one Divakarayan Vasavayan, a ganattan (member of the assembly) 
of this village (EC, IV, CN, 130). 

In like manner, the members of the assembly of Vandur alias 
Sola-madevich-charuppedimangalam in Kilalai nadu of Ganga- 
padi met in the temple of Jayangondasola-Vinnagar-alvar on 
the day that the deity was set up at Nigarilisolapuram and made 
a grant of certain lands whose area, boundaries and other details 
were specified and gave a lithic order to that effect. They also 
mentioned that the tank and wells of their village could be used 
for irrigating these lands. This grant was made at the instance of 
the headman of Kilaru, Tamilpperiyan Gandaradittan, who was 
the settlement officer of Kilalai nadu and other nadus during the 
tenure of the local officer Nittavinoda Pallavaraiyar (EC, IV, 
CN, 132). 

The citizens of Nigarilisolapuram made a grant for the 
god and a sasanam as well. 

From these four inscriptions we gather that by the 23rd year 
of Rajaraja I (a.d. 1007) the Vishnu temple of Jayangonda- 
sola-Vinnagar-Alvar had come into being at the nagaram of 
Nigarilisolapuram, described as being a part of Manalur in 
Kilalai nadu and was named one of the many surnames of 
Rajaraja I. 

Thus this temple is a foundation of the days of Rajaraja I and 
was named after one of his surnames viz-, Jayangondasolan. 

In addition to these gifts, other benefactions were made a 
few years later, in a.d. 1014. Some inhabitants of Manalur gave 
permission to have the temple lands irrigated from the Manalur 
tank (EC, IV, CN, 127). 



222 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


Another record relating to the third year of Rajendra I 
(a.d. 1014) mentions that some members of the assembly of 
Vandur gave an undertaking that, having received from the 
treasury of this god 320 kalams of paddy measured by the marak- 
kal called Jayangondasolan, they would deliver from that year 
onwards by way of interest, 100 kalams of clean paddy; they 
agreed that the entire supervision of this transaction would be 
entrusted to the Sri Vaishnavas and the Five hundred of 
Tiraiyayiram (tisaiyayiram) . Another record which is incomplete 
also relates to the third regnal year of Rajendra I, and presum- 
ably deals with a similar undertaking by one of the other 
assemblies. 

Finally, in an inscription (a.d. 1030) in the reign of Rajendra I, 
the members of the assembly of Kudalur alias Iraja-iraja- 
charuppedimangalam made a grant of certain lands to provide 
for a daily offering of two nalis of rice for the god Jayangonda-sola- 
Vinnagar-alvar (EC, IV, CN, 133). 

Structurally of less significance to the art-historian than the 
Arkesvarar temple, Jayangondasola Vinnagar Alvar temple is a 
tiny piece of beauty, its walls covered over with meticulously 
engraved inscriptions of considerable significance in impeccable 
calligraphy, comparable with the Rajarajesvaram inscriptions 
of Tanjavur. Perhaps, in its own days, this was a more important 
temple than Arumolisvaram. It consists now of only the garbha- 
griha, the ardhamandapa, and the remains of the wall of enclosure, 
which would have given the tiru-murram, the campus of the temple, 
a greater dimension than that of Arumolisvaram (Pis 180 and 
181). 

The temple faces west and it being without the griva and 
sikhara, we could only hazard a guess that, like its sister shrine, 
it must have been eka-tala; the garbhagriha measures 4.50 ms 
in breadth and 4 ms in length along the axis of the temple ; the 
ardhamandapa is 2.40 ms along the axis and 3.20 ms across. From 
the basement to the foot of the griva, the height is 2.18 ms. The 
walls of enclosure should have measured ig.qo ms in length and 
14.55 ms in breadth as ascertained from the foundation of the 
walls, which is all that is left of them. 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA l’s TIME 223 

MALUR 

KAILASESVARAR (RAJENDRASIMHESVARAM 

UDAIYAR) TEMPLE 53 

APPRAMEYASVAMIN TEMPLE 54 

The village of Malur, also called Dodda-Malur, is about 

2.50 kms from Chennapatna, the headquarters of the taluk 
of the same name in the Bangalore district. It is perched on 
the western bank of the meandering river Kanva, a tributary 
of the river Kaveri, at the point where it crosses the Bangalore- 
Mysore highway, about 64 kms south-west of Bangalore. Situated 
in picturesque surroundings amid dense coconut groves are two 
temples here dating back to the days of Chola hegemony over 
this region ; Kailasesvarar, the Siva temple, is in a state of neglect ; 
but the Vishnu temple of Apprameya is in a state of good preser- 
vation ; they are only a few yards away from each other, the former 
being south of the latter. 

Dodda-Malur, also called Mallur-agraharam, has a long 
history and tradition*; it is said that sage Yagnavalkya wrote 
his celebrated Mithakshara here; Kanva rishi is said to have 
worshipped the Lord Aprameyasvamy, and because of this 
association, even the river on whose banks this ancient town- 
ship stands came to be called Kanva -nadi. It bore the alternate 
name of Jnana-mandapa-kshetram and Rajendra-simha-nagari ; 
it is considered a divya-kshetram\ in more recent times, the great 
saint-composer Purandhara Dasa who lived in the 16th century 
visited this temple and worshipped the Lord and Navanita 
Krishna, who was installed in the north-west corner of the 
temple; and it was here, overwhelmed with ecstatic joy when 
in communion with young Lord Krishna, that he composed the 
famous song in Kannada beginning with “ Aadi sidalu Tasodha 
Jagadoddharana” which has been rendered into an incomparable 
visual Bharata natyam composition. 


♦See Sri Apprameyasvamy Temple Renovation Committee brochure. 



224 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


53. Kailasesvarar temple 

Bereft of any wall of enclosure, which must have been there 
in the past, the temple consists of the central shrine with a garbha- 
griha without any superstructure, an antarala and a mahamandapa ; 
the entire complex is a unitary structure, with a kalyana mandapa 
in front, which is of a slightly later date; there is a massive gateway 
to the courtyard of the temple, which belongs to a much later 
date (the Vijayanagara period?) and is shorn of the upper storeys. 

On the south wall of the central shrine, there is a highly 
obliterated inscription, datable to circa a.d. 1000, which men- 
tions for the first time the existence of a temple dedicated to the 
deity called Rajendrasimha Isvaram Udaiyar at Periya Maluvur 
alias Rajendrasimha chaturvedimangalam in Kalikala-sola 
valanadu of Mudikondasola mandalam. It refers to the setting 
up of an image of god Gandaraditta Vitankar, by one Sivajnana 
Gandaraditta, who would appear to have been a general of the 
Chola army evidently stationed here. It mentions that he pur- 
chased some lands and granted them, with exemption from taxes, 
to this deity (EC, IV, CN, 92). The next record, datable to 
about a.d. 1010, is also highly obliterated ; we learn that Maluvur 
was in Kilalai nadu of Rajendrasola valanadu [Ibid. 87) . From a 
record of about a.d. ioio also highly obliterated, we learn that 
Maluvur was in Kilalai nadu of Rajendrasola valanadu {Ibid. 87). 
A record of about a.d. 1014 is more informative. A Kramavittan 
(full name is not discernible) purchased from the assembly certain 
lands for maintaining a perpetual lamp to be burnt before the 
god Sri Kailasam Udaiyar. A similar grant of land, the boundaries 
of which are mentioned in detail, is made for providing the noon 
offerings of rice and for ghee for the god Appirameya-Vinnagar 
alvar of the same village. This charity was placed at the “holy 
feet of the Sri Vaishnavas” {Ibid. 88c). Another epigraph of the 
same date is recorded in the third year of the reign of Kop- 
Parakesarivanmar alias Sri Irajendrasola devar and relates 
to the grant of certain lands for the goddess Durgaiyar, on the 
bund of the pond which a local citizen caused to be dug, in order 
to provide for offerings of rice, oil for lamps and for the pujari 
{Ibid. 88). A record of a.d. 1024 relates to the 13th regnal year 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA I’s TIME 


225 


of Rajendra I and mentions that the members of the assembly 
of Irajendirasinga-saruppedimangalam sold 300 kulis of land 
to the temple, on receipt of money from the king (Ibid. 84). 
A full record dated in the 23rd year of Rajendra I (a.d. 1034) 
is found on the back of the north wall which after narrating the 
full birudas and prasasti of the king, mentions that the members 
of the great assembly of Rajendrasimha-chaturvedimangalam, 
having received gold from a servant of Sri Rajendrasola devar 
(the headman of Puliyur in Kshatriyasikhamani valanadu in 
Chola mandalam) gave certain lands free of all imposts in order 
to provide offerings of rice (specified), vegetables, ghee, betel 
leaves and areca nuts for the god Adavallan Rajendrasola-singar 
and His Consort set up in the temple of Rajendrasimha Isvaram 
Udaiyar of “our village” (Ibid. 83 and 84). There is a brief record 
of the fourth year of Kovirajakesarivanmar alias Sri Virarajendra 
devar, whose prasasti is given in full (Ibid. 85). 

From the inscriptions in this temple, we come to know that 
the village of Periya Maluvur was rechristened Rajendrasimha- 
chaturvedimangalam after the conquest of this region by Raja- 
raja I; that it was located in the subdivision of Kilalai nadu in 
the district of Rajendra valanadu; the whole of the western and 
southern Mysore region was rechristened Mudigondasola manda- 
lam, just as Gangavadi was renamed Nigarilisola mandalam, 
both after surnames of Rajaraja I. A Siva temple was built in the 
place and named Rajendrasimha-Isvaram after a surname of 
Rajaraja I. Evidently, a contingent of the occupation army was 
stationed here and one of its chief officers set up a sculpture called 
Gandaraditta Vitankar, named after himself. An image of the god- 
dess Durga was set up on the bund of a tank dug in the village 
by a local citizen in the 3rd year of Rajendra I. Later on, in the 
reign of the same ruler, the headman of Puliyur (a servant of 
Rajendra I) donated and set up images of Adavallan Rajendra- 
sola-singar and His Consort, evidently images of Nataraja and 
Sivakama sundari. The main deity continued to be called by its 
alternate name of Kayilasamudaiyar till the advent of the 
Hoysalas, when the name changed to Kailasesvarar, its present 
name. 



226 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


The garbhagriha is a square 5.80 ms to a side and the antarala 
projects 2.35 ms forward being narrower in width than the 
garbhagriha by .90 m. The mahamandapa is asymmetrically placed 
across the axis of the temple, the northern wing projecting to a 
greater extent than thesouthern; it measures 13.25 ms by 9.55 ms. 
The kalyana-mandapa is a beautiful open pavilion with finely 
carved pillars, three rows of four each, the foremost outer pillars 
being carved in a style different from others. The northern pillar 
bears an inscription in fine calligraphy proclaiming that the 
pavilion was erected by one Tillaikkuttan; it is datable to circa 
a.d. 1 1 00 (Pis 182 and 183). 

Unlike the temples in the heartland of the empire, the Kailases- 
varar temple has no icons in the garbhagriha or antarala niches, 
which are mere shallow tokens, as in Chola temples in Pandi 
Nadu. 

There are four structures which served as subsidiary shrines; 
one for Ghandesvarar is at its appropriate place close to and 
north of the garbhagriha and the antarala. The deity faces west. 
The other three structures, which are rectangular in section, 
are now empty and are all to the west of the garbhagriha, evidently 
having housed Ganesa in the south-west, Subrahmanyar in the 
west and Jyeshtha in the north-west. Thus, even in the conquered 
land, we notice the vogue of the homeland regarding the ashta- 
parivara devatas being adopted. We found the same practice in 
respect of the Chola temples of Rajaraja I’s days in Pandi Nadu. 

54. Apprameyasvamy temple 

The earliest reference to the existence of this temple is con- 
tained in an inscription which may be dated in a.d. 1019; this 
is found inscribed on the north side of the basement of the shrine 
and is in Tamil. It mentions that the mahajanas of Malavur alias 
Rajendrasimha-chaturvedimangalam granted certain privileges 
to a person (whose name is obliterated) in connection with 
some houses of the village ; and the order signed by the inhabitants 
of the village is in the name and on behalf of the deity, Sri Ap- 
prameya (EG, IV, CN, 96). Another record dated around a.d. 
1034 mentions that the assembly of Malavur granted certain 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 


227 


lands to provide for offerings of rice for the god Manavalalvar, 
who was pleased to take up his abode in the courtyard of the 
temple {Ibid. 95). Another record datable to around a.d. 1050 
deals with a grant of land to god Appirameyapperumal {Ibid. 95 a) . 
One Nilakanta devar gave liberally towards the replacement 
of the jewellery lost from where they were kept buried during the 
disturbed days prior to a.d. 1166. The same person, it is men- 
tioned in a record found on the north basement, gave un-asked, 
a sum of money to the mahajanas for repairing a tank {Ibid. 97 a.). 

In all likelihood, the present structure of the Vishnu temple 
came into existence during the days of Rajaraja I on an earlier 
foundation. Even the Ghola foundation of the Apprameya temple 
has had many accretions during its long history covering the 
days of the Hoysalas and later the Vijayanagara period and 
much that was Ghola in it is no longer there; however the main 
shell of the temple, comprising the garbhagriha, the ardhamandapa 
and the mahamandapa , is original (Pis 184 and 185). 

The temple faces east and is only a few yards west of the 
Kailasesvarar temple. The garbhagriha measures 4.60 ms across 
and 3.40 ms along the axis of the temple. It is preceded by an 
ardhamandapa which is 6 ms along the axis and 10. 10 ms broad. 
The mahamandapa in front of it has the same width as the ardha- 
mandapa and projects 11.45 ms forward and is supported by two 
rows of three pillars each. 

The peristyle is perhaps original as it has much in common 
with the typical peristyles of this period in the Chola mainland 
but its roof has been decorated at a later date. 

TADI-MAALINGI 

( Jananathapuram) 

JANARDANA (RAVIKULA-MANIKKA-VINNAGAR) 

TEMPLE 55 

The region in the present day Mysore state falling to the south 
and east of the river Tungabhadra came under the Ghola hege- 
mony even before the turn of the tenth century a.d. and continued 



228 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


to be under their control for more than a hundred years. 

The erstwhile kingdom of Gangavadi with Talakkadu as the 
capital was rechristened Mudigondasola mandalam, after a 
name of Rajendra I, covering portions of the present day Salem 
district, the entire Mysore district, a sizable portion of the Banga- 
lore district and the peripheral regions to the north and west 
of the latter two districts. 

The capital of Gangavadi lay stretched on both sides of the 
Kaveri; the region on the southern bank of the river was called 
Ten-karai Idai nadu, and Mayilangai (Mavilangai?), now cor- 
rupted to Maalingi, was the southern quarters of the capital 
city of Talaikkadu, which was on the north bank. Tadi Maalingi 
is now a village in Tirumukkudlu-Narasipur taluk, in Mysore 
district. 

There are a large number of temples at Talaikkadu and Tadi 
Maalingi, the ancient capital city of the Gangas, but we are 
mainly concerned with the Janardana temple at Tadi Maalingi 
dedicated to Vishnu; in the ancient days it was known as 
Ravikula-Manikka Vinnagar. In this temple, there are a few 
inscriptions belonging to the Middle and Later Chola periods 
(EC, MY, TN, 31 to 36). The earliest of them relates to the days 
of Rajaraja I, but the year is obliterated (EC, MY, TN, 35). 
It reveals the name of this temple, namely Ravikula-Manikka- 
Vinnagar. The relevant portion reads as follows: 

“Svasti Sri tirumagal pola....udaiyar 
sri Rajarajadevarkku yandu i...pandi ten 
karai idainattu mayilangai Gamundan Vasava 
Gamundan Sama Gamundan S....ngakonyanusa 
Gamundan ullitta .. iv-vanaivom Periya 
Kundavai Alvar Bhandarattil ninrum iwur 
Iravikulamanikka Vinnagar Alvarukku...” 

Another record dated in the 10th year of Rajendra I (a.d. 
1022) gives the new name of Jananathapuram for this place. 

From yet another record relating to the period of the Maha- 
mandalesvara Vira Ganga, the capturer of Talakkadu, Gangavadi, 
Nolambavadi, Banavase, Panugal, Halasige and Beluvala, under 
Hoysala Vira Ballala deva, we gather that one Chibbila 



TEMPLES OF RAJARAJA i’s TIME 


229 


Heggade made a grant to provide for the illuminations in the 
temple of the god Janardana of Maalingi (Ibid. 31). From a 
fragmentary inscription (Ibid. 36) we gather that Idainadu was 
also called Periya nadu and was part of Madhurantaka (sola 
Valanadu?) (Ibid. 36). 

Thus, a temple for Vishnu was built at this place which bore 
the name of Jananathapura, after a surname of Rajaraja I. The 
temple itself got the name of Ravikula-Manikka-Vinnagar after 
a surname of Rajaraja I. We saw that at Dadapuram, in South 
Arcot district, Kundavai, the sister of Rajaraja I, built among 
others a temple for Siva, named Ravikula-Manikkesvaram, 
named after her brother, Rajaraja I. It is interesting to note the 
association of Kundavai with this temple also (PI 406). 



3 


Rajendra I 

(A.D. 1012 to 1044) 


Rajaraja I was succeeded by his only son Rajendra I, born 
of his queen Vanavan Mahadevi “in the month of Margali under 
the natal star of Tiruvadirai” . TheTiruvalangadu Plates of the sixth 
year of Rajendra I mention his early conquests (vide Appendix). 
For two years, Rajendra had been associated, asyuvaraja, with his 
father’s administration (a.d. 1012-1014) and in turn, in a.d. 1018, 
he associated his eldest son, Rajadhiraja I, as co-regent and 
their joint rule lasted 26 years (a.d. 1018-44). He had played 
a vital role in the wars fought by his father; the earliest of them 
were against the Cheras and the Pandyas, followed by the cam- 
paign against Sri Lanka, after conquering which he took possess- 
ion of the crown of Sundara Pandya and ‘the necklace of Indra’ 
deposited in the Sri Lanka capital by Rajasimha, the last of 
the Pandyan rulers of the First Empire, after his defeat at the 
hands of Parantaka I and his flight to the Chera country. In 
this effort he was successful where his predecessor Parantaka I 
had failed. Even in his father’s days soon after the conquest 
of Madurai, Rajendra I was made the Viceroy of the Pandyan 
region, and given the designation of “Chola-Pandya”. This 
institution of appointing the heir-apparent as the viceroy of 
the newly-conquered territory was responsible for the stability 
of the empire which Rajaraja had so sedulously built up. A stand- 
ing army was also stationed at strategic points of the empire, 
like Kottaru, Brahmadesam etc. to strengthen the Government 
and enable it to maintain effective control over the far flung 



RAJENDRA I 


231 


empire. A great palace was also built at Madurai for the residence 
of the Chola Pandya viceroy. This system, introduced by Raja- 
raja I with such great advantage, was continued till the accession 
of Kulottunga I, and its discontinuance thereafter led to the 
loosening of central control over the outlying provinces of the 
empire. Rajendra, as heir-apparent, was next engaged in a 
war with the Western Chalukyas under Satyasraya; he invaded 
the region called Rattapadi (modern Karnataka region falling 
within the Krishna-Godavari doab) and a pitched battle was 
fought at Hottur in Saka 929 (about a.d. 1007), described as the 
bloodiest battle ever fought in that region. The Chola Viceroy 
is said to have visited great destruction on the army, men, women 
and children of the country; after this victory, he came to be 
described as “Nurmudi Chola Rajendra Vidyadhara, son of 
Rajaraja Nittavinoda” ; the whole of the Western Chalukya 
kingdom, extending to the Tungabhadra region, came into the 
Chola dominion as a result of this victory. He next turned his 
attention to the Vengi and Kalinga territories, penetrating 
as far north as the modern Ganjam district and setting up two 
pillars of victoxy on the Mahendragiri mountains commemo- 
rating his victory over one Vimaladitya, who may be taken to 
be a Kuluta chief* and not the Vengi ruler of the same name 
(ARE 396 and 397 of 1896). We are not sure whether this 
war was related to the question of the rulership of the Eastern 
Chalukyan kingdom of Vengi. What we do know is that Vima- 
laditya, son of Vishnuvardhana, of the Eastern Chalukyas spent 
a few years at the royal court at Tanjavur and that Rajaraja I’s 
daughter, Kundavai was given in mariiage to him; this 
alliance established cordial relations between the two kingdoms, 
culminating in the accession, later on, of Kulottunga I as emperor 
of both the realms. 

After his accession to the throne, Rajendra in his own right 
planned a digvijaya as far as the Ganga; his prasasti gives a 
full account of this expedition including details of the rulers 
and kingdoms subjugated by him; this account is corroborated 


*Cf. History of the Eastern Chalukyas of Vengi by B. Venkatakrishna Rao 



232 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


by contemporary records from the conquered lands, establishing 
the trustworthiness of the prasasti. The areas conquered were: 
Chakarak-kottam (in Bastar district of Madhya Pradesh), Masuni 
Desam, Madurai Mandalam, Namanik-konam, Panchapalli, 
Adinagara in Odradesa (Orissa) under the rulership of Indra- 
ratha, Southern Kosala, Dandabhukti ruled by Dhanapala, 
Southern Lata under Rana-sura, Vangala (Bengal) under 
Govinda Chandra, Uttara Lata under Mahipala, and the Pala 
ruler of Bengal, described in the prasasti as the land of unceasing 
rainfall ( tangaada saaral vangaala desam). After this great digviiava, 
Rajendra I, who had deputed the Chola General on this ex- 
pedition, received the victorious army on the banks of the Goda- 
vari and brought it to his new capital now called Gangaikonda- 
Cholapuram. The conquered rulers were made to bring water 
from the Ganga in pots to the capital, which were emptied into 
a new lake built there by Rajendra and described by the Tiru- 
valangadu Plates as the Chola- gangam and as a “pillar of victory 
in the form of water”: 

Ti'j’UbifhRr feiiiciii i 

WT stert tt II 

After the Ganga expedition, Rajendra I conceived of an 
even greater one, this time beyond the seas. The Chola Navy 
built up by Rajaraja I had already proved its mettle during 
his days at Kandalur Salai and in the conquest of the 12,000 
islands off the west coast of India. It was further strengthened 
in Rajendra’s days and a naval expedition was undertaken 
against the powerful Sailendras of Sri Vijaya in the Indonesian 
archipelago; from the prasasti portion of an inscription of the 
fourteenth regnal year (a.d. 1026), we obtain many details of 
the cities and kingdoms taken during this expedition. His 
warships are said to have “plunged into the mid-rolling sea” 
(“ alai kadal naduvul pala kalam selutti ”) and taken the city of Sri 
Vijaya (modern Palenbang) in the Sumatra island, Pannai 
(“bathing ghat”) identified with Panei on the east coast of 
Sumatra, Malaiyur (“mountain principality”) in the southern 



RAJENDRA I 


233 


end of the Malay peninsula, Mayuridingam (“deep sea”) identi- 
fied with Ji Lo Ting mentioned by Chau Ju Kua in the region 
of Jaiya towards the centre of the Malay peninsula, Ilangasokam 
identified with Ling-ya-seu-kia of Chau Ju Kua’s dependencies, 
south of Kedah in the Malay peninsula, Mapappalam in the 
region of the isthmus of Kra, Mevilimbangam, Valaippanduru, 
Talai-Takkolam which is probably the same as the Takola of 
Milinda Panha and the Takkola of Ptolemy (Takupa is in the 
south of the isthmus of Kra or slightly higher up on the west 
coast of the Malay peninsula), Ma-Damalingam, identifiable 
with Tan-ma-ling on the east coast of the Malay peninsula in 
Pahang District, Uamuri Desam, a country in the northern 
part of the island of Sumatra (Lamuri of the Arab geographer 
and Lambri of Marco Polo), Ma-Nakkavaram identifiable 
with the Nicobar Islands, and finally Kadaram, referred to 
as Kataha in Sanskrit literature and as Kadaram or Kidaram 
in the Kalingattupparani and in the Leyden Grant (Tamil part). 

While the trans-oceanic conquests were completed well before 
the end of the second decade of his rule, his other conquests 
continued well into the latter half of his reign. There was a 
revolt in the Pandyan region by three Pandyan Chiefs; in the 
26th year of the reign, his eldest son and Crown Prince Raja- 
dhiraja I suppressed the revolt; one of the Chiefs, Manabha- 
rana, was beheaded; the head of another, Vira Keralan, was 
trampled upon by an elephant, and Sundara Pandya, the third 
Chief, was driven out of the country.* The king of Ve-nadu 
was killed. Rajadhiraja I invaded also the Chera country and 
killed the Chera Chief Ramakudam of Elimali (Mt. d’Efi) ; he 
again destroyed the Chera fleet at Kandalur Salai and also 
subdued the king of the Kupakas (near Ve-nadu) in modern 
South Kerala. 

A rebellion by the Ceylonese king aided by the king of 
Kannakuchchi (Kanyakubja or Kanauj) was ruthlessly put down, 
and both the rebel kings were beheaded. 


♦See the Sivakasi Plates ( Ten Pandya Coppei Plates), Tamil History Academy, Madras, pp. 177- 
206, relating to the period of Rajendra I; also SII, V, 520 (ARE 221 of 1894): frrasasti of 
Rajadhiraja I. 



234 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


There was fresh trouble for the Chola throne from the Western 
Chalukyas. They had earlier invaded Vengi at the time of 
Jayasimha II and were defeated at the battle of Musangi in 
a.d. 1021. About a.d. 1022, Rajaraja Narendra of the Eastern 
Chalukyas became king of Vengi and ruled over it for nearly 
forty one years; the Chola princess Ammangadevi, daughter of 
Rajendra I, was married to that ruler. In about a.d. 1031, there 
was an invasion of Vengi by the Western Chalukyas and a bloody 
battle was fought at Kalidindi, with the Cholas fighting on the 
side of Vengi; it is recorded that three famous Chola Generals 
fought and fell in this battle, and the grateful ruler of Vengi 
erected three memorial temples in their honour. With the accession 
to the Western Chalukya throne of Trailokyamalla Ahavamalla 
Somesvara I in a.d. 1042, another attempt was made on Vengi, 
and in the battle of Dannada (Dhanyakataka), his army under 
the joint command of his two sons, Vikramaditya and Vijayaditya, 
was defeated by the Chola army, who later burnt and destroyed 
the city of Kollip-pakkai (modern Kulpak). 

At the zenith of his power, Rajendra I’s empire extended, 
as graphically described in an inscription at Tirumalavadi, 
from Gangai in the north to Ilangai (Sri Lanka) in the south, 
and from Mahodai (modern Cranganore) in the west to Kada- 
ram (Kedah) in the Malay peninsula in the east. 

In a.d. 1015 and a.d. 1033, two Chola embassies were sent 
to China to establish friendly, diplomatic and commercial ties 
with that country. The king of Kamboja (Cambodia), Surya- 
varaman I (a.d. 1000-1050), sent a war-chariot as a gesture of 
goodwill to Rajendra I. 

Rajendra I’s queens were: Tribhuvana Mahadevi alias 
Vanavan Mahadevi, the Chief Queen; Mukkok-kilan-adigal ; 
Panchavan Mahadevi; and Vira Mahadevi. 

He had two daughters, Arulmoli Nangaiyar alias Tiru Ma- 
devadigal, who is mentioned in connection with the present- 
ation of a decorative umbrella studded with pearls to the deity 
at Tirumalavadi ; and Ammangadevi, who was given in marriage 
to Rajaraja Narendra of the Eastern Chalukyas and who became 
the mother of the future Kulottunga I. 



RAJENDRA I 


235 


Rajendra I assumed a number of titles, the leading ones 
among them being Gangaikonda Cholan, Madhurantakan, 
Vikrama Cholan, Mudikonda Cholan, Pandita Cholan, and 
Vira Rajendran. 

Rajendra I was the builder of the new capital at Gangai- 
konda-Cholapuram which remained as such till the end of the 
Chola empire. However, there were secondary capitals at Palai- 
yarai, Chidambaram and Kanchi. 

Like his father, he was also a great temple builder. 
The most important of them is the one at his capital, called 
Gangaikonda-Cholisvaram. Another temple, also of the same 
name, was built at Kulambandal in the present day North 
Arcot district. The ancient Adipurisvarar temple at Tiruvorriyur 
was rebuilt of stone in his days. Another magnificent temple 
built in his time is the Vachisvarar temple at Tiruppasur, in 
Chingleput district. The “Siva Devale No. 2” at Polannaruva in 
Sri Lanka was perhaps built during his viceroyalty there. Another 
important temple of his time is the Rajendrasola vinnagaram, 
now called Gopalasvamin temple, at Mannarkoyil in Tirunelveli 
district, built by his Chera feudatory, Rajasimha. It was also 
during his life time, that a great residential Sanskrit College 
was established at Ennayiram. 

Rajendra I seems to have died in his thirty-second regnal 
year, corresponding to the 26th regnal year of Rajadhiraja I 
(a.d. 1044), who had a long joint rule of 26 years with his 
father. There is an inscription at Brahmadesam, North Arcot 
district, dated in the 26th year and 120th day of Rajadhiraja I, 
where it is stated that the local Assembly met under a tamarind 
tree and sold land for a water-shed for “quenching the thirst” 
of the king Sri Udaiyar Rajendra Choladeva and his queen 
Vira Mahadeviyar who is said to have “entered the supreme 
feet of Brahma in the very same tomb in which the body of 
Rajendra Choladeva was interred.” This gift was made by 
Senapati Madhurantakan alias Parakesari Velar, the brother 
of the queen. Thus we learn that the illustrious Rajendra, the 
conqueror of Gangai and Kadaram, died at Brahmadesam in 
a.d. 1044 an( l his queen Vira Mahadevi committed sati and 



236 MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 

the gift for a water-shed was in honour, and for the spiritual 
propitiation, of the illustrious royal couple. 

We are not vouched how Rajendra I died. The mortal 
remains of many of his ancestors lie buried in this region ; Aditya I 
died at Tondaiman-Arrur ; Rajaditya, son of Parantaka I, 
fell at Takkolam fighting the Rashtrakutas. Arinjaya died at 
Melpadi. The son of Rajendra I, Rajadhiraja I, himself, was 
destined later on to die a heroic death on the elephant’s back 
in the battle of Koppam ( anai-mer-runjiya — “one who died on the 
back of an elephant”). We do not know if Rajendra I died of 
any natural cause, a sudden mortal disease, or as an aftermath 
of mortal wounds received in a frontier war. In the Varadaraja 
Perumal temple at Tribhuvani (in the Union Territory of Pondi- 
cherry), there is a record which gives rise to the speculation about 
the manner of his death ; it is of the thirtieth regnal year of his 
son Rajadhiraja I and refers to a charity named Rajendrasolan 
Uttamagram instituted to secure the health of Rajendra I. The 
charity got executed four years after the death of Rajendra I. 
And it was a great charity indeed, providing for the recitation 
of Tiruvaymoli and for the maintenance of a Vedic college 
including a hostel for the pupils (ARE 176 of 1919). 

Whatever be that, he was of a heroic mould and his death 
marked the eclipse of a glorious character. The Gangaikonda- 
cholisvaram and the Adipurisvarar temple at Tiruvorriyur are 
no doubt noble memorials to this hero; but such a hallowed 
spot as Brahmadesam deserves to be marked with a suitable 
memorial, for there lie the ashes of the great Chola who con- 
quered Gangai and Kadaram and his heroic queen Vira Mahadevi 
who committed sati. 

A personality of rare accomplishments and unequalled and 
many-sided achievements, Rajaraja I was the inspirer of grand 
ideas and dreams, and Rajendra I gave them fulfilment and 
completion. Both of them are not only the greatest of South 
Indian rulers, but rank among the noblest sons of India, nay, 
even of the world. 

Editing Thucydides, John H. Finlay Jr. says: 

“Athens is new, Sparta the established power; Athens’ 



RAJENDRA I 


237 


strength is naval, Sparta’s military. Naval power reflects 
a commercial economy; military power an agricultural 
economy. The former encourages enterprise and initiative; 
the latter tenacity and tradition. Hence one rests on demo- 
cratic freedom; the other on oligarchic discipline.” 

It will be no exaggeration to state that the Choi a empire under 
Rajaraja I and his son Rajendra I blends and reflects the spirit, 
discipline and virtues of both Athens and Sparta. 



236 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


Appendix 

Tiruvalangadu Copper Plates 

“85. To this ruler of men (Rajaraja I) was born a son, Madhurantaka, whose limbs bore all 
the (distinguishing) marks of earth-rulers, who resembled a different Manmatha (mind-bom) 
who had defied the angry roar of Hara (Siva) ”• 

XXx 

“89. (This) famous (and) heroic lord of men intent upon doing meritorious deeds with 
large quantities of money acquired by (the strength of) his own arm, turned his attention to the 
conquest of the quarters ( digvijaya ), backed by a powerful army. 

90. Accordingly, he the unequalled king Uttama Chola first started to the (southern) quarter 
marked by (the asterism) Trisanku, with a desire to conquer the Pandya king, after having arranged 
for the protection of his own capital. 

91 . The commander of forces ( dandanatha ) of this crest-jewel of the Solar race (i.e., Madhuran- 
taka) (Rajendra I) struck the Pandya king who had a powerful army. And the Pandya leaving 
his own country which was the residence of (the sage) Agastya, from fear (of Madhurantaka), 
sought refuge in the Malaya hill. 

92. (Then) the politic son of Rajaraja took possession of the lustrous pure pearls which looked 
like the seeds (out of which grew) the spotless fame of the Pandya king. 

93. Having placed there his own son, the glorious Chola-Paniya, for the protection of his (i.e. 
the Pandya’s) country, the light of the Solar race started for the conquest of the western region. 

94. Having heard of the humiliation which the rulers of the earth were subjected to by 
(the sage) Bhargava (i.e., Parasurama) on the battlefield, (and) not being able to meet him (i.e., 
Bhargava) (in battle) on earth, that proud king (Madhurantaka) set his mind upon conquering 
the country called after him.” 

XX X 

“96. Madhurantaka fearlessly crossed the Sahya (mountain) (and) immediately attacked 
the lord of the Kerala (country) together with his forces. Then a fierce battle took place which 
wrought ruin upon (several) kings. 

97. Having conquered the Kerala king and having annihilated the country protected by the 
austerities of the chief of the Bhrigus, that prince, the abode of prosperity, turned towards his 
own capital (which looked) as if (it were) dancing (in joy) with (its upraised) hands, viz., brilliant 
fluttering flag-cloths and whispering welcome by (its) sweetly (jingling) waist-belts of (damsels) 
with unsteady eyes.” 

XX X 

“99. Having appointed his own son, the glorious Chola-Pandya, to protect the western country, 
he, the very god of Death (Kala) to the Taila-family (i.e., the Western Chalukyas), entered 
(the town of) Kanchi, which was like the waist-band ( kanchi ) of the goddess-earth. 

too. Observing that the lord of the Chalukyas, king Jayasimha, was the seat of the (sinful) 
Kali (age), Rajendra-Chola— himself the destroyer of the Kali (age) — started first to conquer 
him (i.e., Jayasimha) alone. 

101. It may be no wonder that the fire of his anger burst into flame as it came into contact 
with the descendant of Taila. 

102. While this king with anger was engaged in vanquishing Jayasimharaja, very strangely 
(indeed), the fire of grief of the Ratta ladies burst into flame, washed by the tears (trickling) from 
(their) eyes.” 


X 


X 


X 



RAJENDRA I 


239 


“104. The forces of Cholendrasimha and Jayasimha fought an intensive battle, each (side) 
kindling the anger of the other, wherein the fire generated by the tusks of huge infuriated ele- 
phants dashing (against each other), burnt all the banners. 

105. That lord of Rattarashtra (i.e., Jayasimha) in order to escape from the fire of the terrible 
rage of the ornament of the Solar race (i.e., Rajendra-Chola) took to his heels with fear, abandon- 
ing all (his) family, riches and reputation.” 

XXX 

107. The army of Rattaraja, hemmed in on all sides by the continuous downpour of arrows 
(and) beleaguered by the heroes of the army of the ornament of the Solar race, was (completely) 
destroyed just as a range of clouds tossed about by the force of furious winds. 

108. Having defeated Rattaraja with (his) forces, the son of Rajaraja, well- versed in polity 
and attended by all his numerous virtues such as courage, prowess and victory, got (back) to 
(his) (capital) town. 

109. This light of the Solar race, laughing at Bhagiratha who had brought down the Ganga 
(to the earth from heaven) by the power of (his) austerities, wished to sanctify his own country 
with the waters of the Ganga (i.e., the river Ganges) carried thither through the strength of 
(his) arm. 

no. Accordingly (he) ordered the commander of the army who had powerful battalions 
(under his control), who was the resort of heroism (and) the foremost of diplomats, to subdue 
the enemy kings occupying (the country on) the banks of that (river). 

in. Before him, as from the slopes of the Himalayas, marched a very large army like the 
tremendous volume of the waters of the Ganga with wavy rows of moving horses, causing all the 
quarters to resound with its confused clamour. 

1 12. The van of his army crossed the rivers by way of bridges formed by herds of elephants. The 
rest of the army (crossed the same) on foot, (because) the waters in the meantime had dried up 
being used by elephants, horses and men. 

1 13. The soldiers of Vikrama-Chola (Rajendra Chola I) having reached the points of the com- 
pass (first) by the dust raised by crowds of elephants, horses and foot-men, quickly entered 
(next) the country of hostile kings.” 

XXX 

“137. May Rajendra-Chola be victorious all over the earth, whose many gem(-like) virtues 
step beyond the bounds of the egg of the three worlds; (the number of) whose enemies is not 
sufficiently (large) for the (full) display of (his) splendid heroism; who (like) an ocean is the 
birth-place of all innumerable gem (-like) virtues; for (the grasp of) whose intelligence sciences 
(as they now exist) are limited (in number) ; who being solicited gives to the crowd of suppliants 
super-abundant wealth ; and who is the birth-place of prosperity.” 



4 


Temples of Rajendra I’s Time 


GAN GAIKONDASOLAPUR AM 

56 GANGAIKONDA-CHOUSVARAM 

Gangaikondasolapuram, now an insignificant village in the 
Udaiyarpalayam taluk of Tiruchy district, lies on the road 
from Tiruchy to Chidambaram running almost parallel to and 
on the northern bank of the river Kollidam, and at a distance 
of 10 kms to the east of Jayangondasolapuram (which itself 
lies on one of the highways from Kumbakonam to Vriddha- 
chalam). It is bounded on the west by the celebrated Cholagan- 
gam lake and on the east by the river Vadavaru. Out of an 
otherwise rather dreary and barren skyline for miles around, 
the lofty srivimana of the great temple of Gangaikonda-cholisvaram 
here lifts its stately head as if scanning the vast arena of the 
bygone empire. In the heyday of Chola rule, its srivimana pos- 
sibly served as the tallest watch tower of the city. It is no ancient 
city sung by the Devaram hymnists, but a creation of the early 
eleventh century, and the only literary references to it are found 
in the Tiru Isaippa of Kuruvur devar, the Kalingattup-parani of 
Jayangondar, the Muvar Ula of Ottakkuttar (the court poet 
of Vikrama Chola and his two immediate successors), and the 
Koyil Olugu (a legendary history of the Srirangam temple). The 
Vikramankadeva charita of Bilhana, the court poet of Vikrama- 
ditya VI, the Western Chalukya ruler, refers to Gangapuri in 



TEMPLES Or RAJENDRA i’s TIME 


24I 


the context of Vikramaditya’s sojourn in the Chola capital in 
connection with his efforts to control its destiny during the 
troubled days of a.d. 1069-70. 

The City 

In a.d. 1014, Rajaraja I died and his son Rajendra I, till 
then Yuvaraja and Co-ruler, succeeded him. Rajendra I in 
turn associated his son Rajadhiraja I with his reign as Yuvaraja 
in a.d. 1018, in which capacity the latter served for 26 years 
(a.d. 1018-44) till the death of Rajendra I. 

The earliest reference to the Ganga expedition of Rajendra I 
is found in a record of his eleventh regnal year (a.d. 1023). 
The earliest reference to Gangaikondasolapuram is found in an 
inscription of his seventeenth year (a.d. 1029). The city and the 
palace there must have come into existence between a.d. 1023 
and 1029. How much earlier it was designed and its building 
begun is a matter of conjecture. He might have conceived of the 
scheme of a new capital even during the last years of his father. 
His total dedication to the new temple is illustrated by the 
following sequence of events. In the nineteenth year, 242nd 
day of his reign, he made a gift of 2,000 kalams of paddy per 
year as acharya bhogam to the chief priest Sarva Siva Pandita 
Saivacharya of the Rajarajesvaram at Tanjavur and his des- 
cendants (a.d. 1031-32). Four years later, he himself transferred 
these land gifts, made earlier in perpetuity to the Rajarajesvaram, 
to his newly built temple of Gangaikonda-cholisvaram (twenty- 
third year, a.d. 1035). Nine years later, he died at Brahmadesam 
(a.d. 1044). These transfers are recorded 25 years later in an 
inscription of Vira Rajendra. There is no record of Rajendra I 
himself of this transaction (on the walls of this temple or else- 
where). In fact, the total absence of any inscriptions of his in 
this temple remains an enigma. 

The city had the advantage of being built from scratch; 
it was carefully planned and laid out according to the injunc- 
tions of treatises on architecture and town-planning; the city 
would appear to have had an inner and an outer wall of forti- 
fication, identifiable with the utpadaivittu madil and the Rajendra- 



242 MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 

solan madil respectively. From the debris, it is clear that the walls 
were built of large-sized burnt bricks. The palace also would 
appear to have been built of brick, with many of the buildings 
in it being multi-storeyed. Flat tiles were used for the roofs and 
polished wood for pillars and panelling. Granite stumps which 
presumably supported wooden pillars have been recovered from 
the debris. We have inscriptional references to a palace-building 
called Chola-Keralan tirumaligai (after a surname of Rajendra I), 
and to a throne in it called Mavali Vanadhirajan. An inscription 
of the 49th year of Kulottunga I (a.d. hi 9) as well as later inscrip- 
tions make reference to a palace-building called Gangaikondasolan 
maligai. We hear of another wall of enclosure called Kulottunga- 
solan tirumadil ; and of highways and roads called Kulottungasolan 
tirumadil peruvali, Vilangudaiyan peruvali and Kulayanai-pona peruvali ; 
Rajarajan peruvali and Rajendra peruvali were evidently laid out 
even at the time of the creation of the city. We also get the 
names of a few suburbs of the city such as Virasolapuram, Kolla- 
puram, Meykavalputtur, Vanavanallur, Virabhoga and others. 

Vastu and Agama requirements of town-planning were im- 
plicitly followed as regards the disposition of the various temples 
in the diverse corners of the city; thus, the Siva temple is to 
the north-east ( isana ) of the city, and the Sasta (Ayyanar) temple 
to the south-east; and, according to the local population, an 
image of Vishnu with Consort was found till recently in its 
original place to the west of the site of the palace ruins. 

But, of all the remains, the one most certainly worth a visit 
is the magnificent temple of Gangaikonda-cholisvaram, dedi- 
cated to Siva and built in close imitation of the Rajarajesvaram 
at Tanjavur. The Linga in the sanctum rises to a height of 3.96 ms 
(13') and is said to be the largest such in any South Indian 
temple. The temple-campus, whose courtyard is 172.82 ms (567') 
long and 96.93 ms (318') wide, consists of the main shrine 
in the middle, two subsidiary shrines to its north and south 
called the Vada Kailasam and Ten Kailasam respectively, 
a shrine for Chandesvarar, one for Mahishasuramardini, a 
rather large step-well called the Simhakkeni (lion-well) , a massive 
stucco Nandi, a bali-pitham east of the Nandi, and an alankara 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA I’s TIME 


243 


mandapa (in ruins), a much later construction. All these are 
encompassed by a vestigial wall of enclosure* in whose eastern 
wing there was a gopuram ; the superstructure of the latter has 
fallen, and only the basal portion is left. 

The Main Shrine 

In its structural constituents, the main shrine closely resembles 
its Tanjavur counterpart. It consists of a garbhagriha , an ardha- 
mandapa and a mahamandapa. They share a common massive 
adhishthanam, mounted on an equally massive upapitham. Pro- 
jecting horizontally along the dividing line between these two 
is a narrow running platform, going the full round, and im- 
parting a light-and-shade effect to the structure. The upapitham 
is decorated by a series of mythical and other animals, mostly 
lions and leogriffs, interspersed with low relief panels of floral 
design. A portion of the upapitham is possibly embedded in the 
ground, the level of the latter having risen in course of time. 
The sides of the adhishthanam contain many of the formal 
mouldings such as the padmam, kumudam, varimanam (here, an 
ornate frieze of yalis carrying riders) and vari, though some, 
like the kantham and the kapotam, are absent. The upapitham is 
103.63 ms (340') long and 30.48 ms (ioo') wide. The garbhagriha 
and mahamandapa are also of the same width, and respectively 
30.48 ms (ioo') and 53.34 ms (175') long. The ardhamandapa is 
shaped like a constricted square neck between the two, of side 
19.81 ms (65'). 

THE SRI VI MAMA 

The dominating element of the temple is of course the 
srivimana. The garbhagriha -walls rise to a height of 10.67 ms (35') 


♦Extract from a local publication of a.d. 1855, reproduced in The Indian Antiquary, Vol. IV, 
p.274: “When the lower Kolerun anikut was built, the structure (of Gangaikonda cholisvaram) 
was dismantled of a large part of the splendid granite sculptures which adorned it, and the 
enclosing wall was almost wholly destroyed in order to obtain materials for the work. The poor 
people did their utmost to prevent this destruction and spoliation of a venerated edifice by the 
servants of a Government that could show no title to it, but of course without success. They 
were also punished for contempt. A promise was made that a wall of brick should be built in 
place of the stone wall that was pulled down; but unhappily it must be recorded that this promise 
has never been redeemed.” 



244 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


over the adhishthanam , and are divided into two (equal) horizontal 
courses, as in the Rajarajesvaram at Tanjavur, by a massive 
cornice going all around. The lower and upper courses each have 
five bays on each of the three free sides (i.e., other than the eastern). 
Of the five bays, the central bay is the widest, the end bays are 
square, while the intermediate bays are oblong, with the vertical 
side longer than the horizontal. Each bay is terminated at its 
flanks by a canton in the form of a pilaster; in the central bay, 
the wide expanse of its facade is relieved by two more pilasters 
(of the same size as the cantons) framing the central and main 
niche (of that course and that side), instead of the diminutive 
pilasters that frame the niches in the remaining bays. There are 
thus twelve large and beautiful pilasters on each side of each course. 
Above the intervening cornice, the design and pattern are replicas 
of the lower course, only the niche figures varying. The pilasters 
are massive, square in cross-section, and have all the constituent 
elements including a rather massive abacus (palagai) etching a 
discontinuous line along the upper reaches of each course, below 
the cornice. An interesting feature, found here as well as at 
Tanjavur, is the indulgence in cameos wherever there was 
space between the pilasters and the niche, as is the case with the 
central and the end bays. The cameos in the central bay are in 
four horizontal rows of anecdotal panels relating to some Puranic 
story centering round the niche figure. The space between the 
vari, and varimanam mouldings below the central and the end bays 
carries some fine dancing figures; there is no such (or other) 
embellishment under the intermediate bays. In the treatment of 
the recesses between the bays, there is a difference between the 
lower and the upper courses; each recess of the lower course has 
a kumbha-panjara, and of the upper, a niche with a figure. The 
mid-level cornice is supported on a beam ( uttiram ) resting on a 
three-pronged corbel with a bevelled edge and a tenon. The 
cornice is segmented into five lengths corresponding to the bays 
below (and above) and has floral designs in cameo over the cor- 
ners and decorative kudus, each with a semi-circular niche in the 
centre and a simha-mukha (lion-face) crowning it; the central 
segment has two such kudus and the others one each. There is 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA i’s TIME 


245 


a yali frieze above the cornice and a bkutagana frieze (overshadow- 
ed by the heavy inward curve of the coinieel below it. There 
is a hara over the prastara. 

The srivimana comprises nine talas including the ground tala 
(as against thirteen at Tanjavur). The upper talas are gradually 
diminishing replicas of the lowest. The ornamentation consists 
of square and oblong pavilions; the central and intermediate 
ones on each side project forward beyond the alignment of the 
corner kutas; this planned, symmetrical unevenness of surface 
treatment lends a sinuousness to the tower that we do not have 
at Tanjavur. The griva is embellished with niches in the four 
cardinal directions and, at the four corners of the square platform 
supporting it, there are four nandis. The gffya-niches are crowned 
with kirtimukhas. The sikhara is not of one stone, despite local 
belief, and is draped on the top with lotus petal designs. It is 
(even in proportion to the rest of the structure) smaller than that 
at Tanjavur. The gold-coated stupi is of metal, with a lotus-bud 
design at the top. It is said to bear an inscriptional reference to 
Nallakka-tola Udaiyar, a poligar of Udaiyarpalayam; he might 
have gifted a new stupi or re-gilded the original. 

The srivimana rises to a height of only 48.77 ms (160') as 
compared to the 63.40 ms (208') of the Rajarajesvaram; even 
so, it dominates the vicinity. The base of the srivimana in both 
the cases being virtually of the same dimensions, the reduced 
height, the smaller number of talas and the concavity imparted 
to the superstructure here in contrast to the severely straight 
pyramidal form of the Tanjavur counterpart, all add up to 
present an entirely different image here from what obtains at 
Tanjavur. To quote Percy Brown (JISOA, Vol. II) : “In spite 
of its almost cloying richness viewed as a whole, there is a fine 
fully matured beauty in this Chola masterpiece.” In fine, he 
terms it “the feminine counterpart of Tanjore”.* 

* ‘These measurements are based on those found in the standard published books. Our plan 
records slightly different data furnished by our Surveyor. 

See also Tables I and II showing the height of the superstructure in relation to that of sanc- 
tum, and of the proportion of the plinth of the temple in relation to its height in respect of some 
South Indians Temples in the scholarly publication ‘The Kampaharesvara Temple* by H. 
Sarkar, brought out by the Department of Archaeology, Government of Tamilnadu. 



246 MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 

THE ARDHAMANDAPA 

The ardhamandapa connects the garbhagriha and the maha- 
mandapa and is approachable from the north and the south by 
flights of steps located between the east wall of the garbhagriha 
and the west wall of the mahamandapa. The steps are in two stages 
as at Tanjavur, the first stage taking us to a landing on a level 
with the top of the upapitham, and the second stage to the thresh- 
old of the doorway to the ardhamandapa (on a level with the top 
of the adhishthanam) . These doorways are guarded by massive 
dvarapalas. The mandapa is supported by plain, square and heavy 
pillars. On the eastern wall of the ardhamandapa (and facing west), 
there are series of thematic panels depicting puranic episodes (on 
either side of the entrance to the mahamandapa) . One set of three 
panels illustrates Siva humbling Ravana’s pride; another depicts 
Vishnu in the act of pulling out one of His eyes on finding that 
He was one short of the 1,008 lotuses intended to be offered to 
Siva in worship, and Siva bestowing grace on Him ( Vishnu - 
anugraha). Uma’s marriage to Siva is the theme of a panel close 
to the doorway. Vishnu is the kanya-data (giving away the bride) 


Comparative Statement of the Height of a Few Temples 

(H. Sarkar) 


Place 

Temple 

Total 

Height 

Height of 
Sanctum 

Height of 
Superstructure 

1 Kanchipuram 

Kailasanathar 

20.28 ms 

5.49 ms 

14.79 ms 



66.33' 

18.00' 

46-33 

2 Kanchipuram 

Vaikuntha Perumal 

22.30 ms 

6.60 ms 

15.70 ms 



72-75' 

2142' 

51-33' 

3 Mamallapuram 

Shore Temple 

16.96 ms 

4.06 ms 

12.90 ms 



55-42' 

13.20' 

42.22' 

4 Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

59.98 ms 

15.85 ms 

44.13 ms 



196.50' 

52.00' 

14450' 

5 Gangaikonda- 

Gangaikonda- 

54.86 ms 

14.78 ms 

40.08 ms 

Cholapuram 

Solisvaram 

180.00' 

48.50' 

131-5°' 

6 Darasuram 

Airavatesvarar 

25.17 ms 

5.82 ms 

19.35 ms 



83.00' 

I9-50' 

63-50' 

7 Tribhuvanam 

Kampaharesvarar 

38.45 ms 

10.79 ms 

27.66 ms 



126.00' 

35-25' 

90-75' 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA I’s TIME 247 

and Brahma the chief priest. Close to and north of the doorway 
is a panel dealing with the Kirata-Arjuna episode. At the northern 
extreme, there are two panels; one depicts the Markandeyar epi- 
sode (Kalantaka) and the other the Chandesvarar episode. The 
quality of these sculptures is not to be compared to that of the 
massive and exquisite sculptures on the garbhagriha walls. 

NICHE SCULPTURES 

What may place Gangaikonda-cholisvaram on a higher 
pedestal than even Rajarajesvaram is a delectable set of sculptures 
found on the garbhagriha walls, numbering as many as fifty. They 
are boldly conceived and executed with consummate skill and 
dedication. The very soul of the craftsman would seem to have 
been poured out into these forms in stone. Of all these products 
of the Dravidian ateliers, three stand out as superb specimens: 
Chandesanugraha-murti, Nataraja and Sarasvati, which have 
luckily not been touched by the hand of time or of the vandal. 
The two-tiered garbhagriha offered the sculptor two separate 
“canvases” to work on. The niche-figures in the cardinal direc- 
tions are the traditional ones: Dakshinamurti in the south and 
Brahma in the north, in both tiers; and, in the west (rear), Vishnu 
in the lower tier and Lingodbhavar in the upper. There being 
four bay-niches and four recess-niches in the upper tier and four 
bay-niches in the lower, other than the central niches already 
covered above, we get as many more niche-figures — four in the 
lower tier and eight in the upper tier of each free side. On the 
east wall of the garbhagriha, there are two niche-figures in the 
first tier and four in the second tier. Being a mahaprasada, the 
temple gave full scope to the artists to follow the Agamic specifi- 
cations, and thus we have both Lingodbhavar and Vishnu as 
niche figures in the west (rear), in the lower tier; Subrahmanyar 
occupies another such niche, yet another special feature. Chandes- 
anugraha-murti in the northern lower-tier niche of the eastern 
wall has precedents in the Pallava temples of Airavatesvara, 
Muktesvarar and Matangesvarar at Kanchipuram. The (clock- 
wise) disposition of the images on the free sides, in both tiers, 
is given below: 



248 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


South 

Ganapati 

Ardhanari 

Dakshinamurti 

Hariharar 

Nataraja 


LOWER TIER 


West 


North 


Gangadharar 
Lingodbhavar 
Mahavishnu 
Subrahmanyar 
Vishnu Anugraha- 
murti 


Kalantaka 

Durga 

Brahma 

Bhairavar 

Kamantakar 


UPPER TIER 


South 

Kalantakar 
A four-armed 
standing deity 
-do- 
Yama 

Dakshinamurti 
A four-armed deity 
-do- 
-do- 
Nirutti 


West 

Bhikshatanar 
A three-headed 
figure 
Varuna (?) 

Vishnu 

Lingodbhavar 

Brahma 

Vayu 

A four-armed deity 
-do- 


North 

Gauri Prasada 
A four-armed 
deity 

-do- 

Soma 

Brahma 

A four-armed deity 
Isana 

Bhuvarahar 

Subrahmanyar 


In the first tier of the east wall of the garbhagriha, there are images 
of Chandesanugrahamurti on the north and Kankaladharar on 
the south, overlooking the flights of steps leading to the ardha- 
mandapa on the north and south sides respectively. Facing them, 
on the west wall of the mahamandapa, are images of Sarasvati and 
Lakshmi, respectively. In the second tier of the east wall of the 
garbhagriha, there are images of Gajasamharamurti and Chandra 
in the north (above the Chandesanugrahamurti image of the 
first tier) and Surya and Agni in the south (above the Kankala- 
dharar image of the first tier). 

A chart showing the positions of these icons in the temple 
walls will be found among the illustrations. 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA i’s TIME 


249 


The figures in the upper tier may be grouped into : the normal 
niche figures found in the cardinal points; the eight guardian 
deities or dikpalas (listed clockwise from the south-east, these 
are: Agni, Yama, Nirutti, Varuna, Vayu, Soma, Isana and 
Indra — the last not represented here; and the Ekadasa (Eleven) 
Rudras (Sadyojata, Vamadeva, Aghora, Tatpurusha, Isana, 
Mrityunjaya, Vijaya, Kiranaksha, Aghorastra, Srikantha and 
Mahadeva) , who, according to the Agamic texts, are to be shown 
standing, with four arms, holding the parasu and the mriga in the 
upper hands while the lower ones are in the abhaya and varada 
poses; besides these figures, Kalantakar, Bhikshatanar, Vishnu, 
Brahma, Gauri Prasada, Bhuvarahar and Subrahmanyar are also 
depicted. 

THE DVARAPALAS 

There are guardian deities here in all the places where we 
have them in the Rajarajesvaram at Tanjavur, except for three 
pairs which are found only in the latter flanking the big doorways 
on the three sides of the garbhagriha: in fact, even these openings 
are not there at Gangaikonda-cholisvaram. We have one pair 
in front of the gopuram. Victims of the ravages of time and man, 
they now lie face down in front of the gopuram, which is itself in 
ruins. A second pair stands majestically at the entrance to the 
mahamandapa which must once have been grand and imposing. 
There are a pair each at the entrance from the mahamandapa 
to the ardhamandapa and again from the latter to the garbhagriha, 
and flanking the flights of steps leading to the ardhamandapa 
from the courtyard in the north as well as south. 

THE MAHAMANDAPA 

The plinth, consisting of the upapitham and the adhishthanam 
supporting the garbhagriha, ardhamandapa and mahamandapa, also 
supports a pavilion akin to a manimandapa in front of the last- 
mentioned. The mahamandapa and this pavilion are separated by 
the flight of steps from the courtyard leading to either of them. 
The continuity of the mouldings on the adhishthanam indicates 
that the plinth has remained intact and that the main structure 



250 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


of the temple-complex comprised these four units. The original 
mahamandapa must have been an imposing structure of twice the 
present height, in keeping with the rest of the structure of this 
mahaprasada. As it now stands, only the plinth and remnants of 
its walls at the western extremity are original, the side walls, 
pillars and roof having been reconstructed. From the surviving 
portion, it is clear that the prastara of the mahamandapa must have 
been on a level with that of the srivimana, and that the cornice 
which divides the garbhagriha walls into two courses must have 
continued on to the mahamandapa walls as well. There must have 
been niches in the two courses so created on the latter walls, of 
which only one in the upper course and a few in the lower course 
have survived. They must have housed various subsidiary deities, 
such as the Vidyesvaras, Vasus and Adityas. 

There is a central passage leading from the main entrance 
to the garbhagriha through the ardhamandapa ; the size of the 
dvarapalas at the main entrance suggests that there was no ceiling 
above this passage except the original roof (at twice the height 
of the present roof) ; over the two platforms created by, and on 
either side of, this passage, there must have been a pavilion in 
two tiers, the roof of the first tier being at the level of the present 
roof (equivalently, at the level of the cornice which divided the 
outer wall into two courses). 

THE S. AURA-PITH A 

In the north-east corner of the mahamandapa, there is a delicately 
carved representation of the Sun and the eight other planets of 
Hindu astrology, on an altar. It is in the form of a full-blown 
lotus on a square pedestal, in two tiers. The upper tier has the 
eight planets in the eight principal directions, and the lotus stands 
for the Sun, thus making up the nine grahas. The lower tier of 
the pedestal is crafted as a wheeled chariot drawn by seven horses, 
representing the seven days of the week. The wheels are orna- 
mented with twelve petals each, representing the twelve months 
of the year. At the corners of the chariot are representations of 
celestial beings carrying flower-garlands. 

The style, workmanship and even the sculptural theme of 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA I’s TIME 25 1 

this piece bespeak its Chalukyan origin and it might have been 
brought here as a war trophy. 

LOOSE STONE SCULPTURES 

Notice should be taken of a fine set of loose sculptures found 
in the courtyard of the temple. Assembled together on a platform 
by the side of the northern entrance to the temple are sculptures 
of Bhikshatanar, Lingodbhavar, Ganapati, Subrahmanyar, Devi, 
Virabhadrar, Brahma, Durga, Chandrasekharar, Vrshabhantikar, 
Vinadharar and four of the lesser divinities. In the southern wing 
of the courtyard, close to the Ten Kailasam, images of Ardhanari, 
Gajalakshmi and Surya (two) are found partially buried in the 
ground. Near the lion-well is an icon of Vishnu with Sridevi. 
Many of these icons evidently occupied the niches of the rnaha- 
mandapa walls once. 

BRONZES 

It is surprising that the bronzes of this temple should have 
survived nearly a thousand years, particularly as the hand of the 
enemy must have fallen heavily on the palace and the city which 
was the capital of the Cholas. The Tanjavur temple has not 
shared this good fortune, for hardly any are left of the vast array 
of metals gifted to it by the king, his sister, his queens and his 
nobles. Perhaps even here, only a few of the original gifts has 
survived. Among them are two pieces of outstanding beauty 
and grandeur: the Somaskandar group and Karttikeya. The 
images of Siva and Uma in the former are giant-sized (Skanda 
is missing), forming perhaps the biggest set among such icons 
of the Chola or of any other period; datable definitely to the 
age of Rajendra I, this set must have been used as the proces- 
sional deity-set. The Karttikeya image, measuring 107 cms in 
height, stands on a padmapitham, of which the lotus is realistic 
and not stylised; it has four arms: the right upper hand holds 
the sakti (partially broken), the right lower, the sword, of which 
only the handle remains, the left upper, a cock and the left lower, 
a shield. Among the others, also of remarkable workmanship, 
are the images of Bhogesvari, Durga, Adhikara-Nandi and 



252 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


Vrishabhavahanar. The Bhogesvari image, stationed as usual near 
the threshold of the sanctum, is two-armed and has an arresting 
smile and a perfect torso. The four-armed, standing image of 
Durga is in the samabhanga (erect) posture ; the upper hands hold 
the sankha and the chakra, while the lower arms are in the varada 
and kati-avalambita poses* (Pis 204 to 231). 

The Subsidiary Shrines 

(A) VADA KAIL AS AM 

(B) TEX KAILASAM 

As already mentioned, there are two subsidiary shrines, one 
on either side of the main shrine, called the Vada (northern) 
and the Ten (southern) Kailasams.** Both shrines were originally 
dedicated to Siva; the Vada Kailasam has since been converted 
into an Amman shrine, most probably in the early years of the 
Later Chola period, when separate Amman shrines came into 
being for the first time. Both face east, and are alike in most 
respects. 

The Vada Kailasam comprises a garbhagriha, an ardhamandapa, 
and a mahamandapa (which appears to be a later addition). It has 
a dvi-tala srivimana with a griva, curvilinear sikhara and stupi. 
The garbhagriha walls contain three niches with the usual images 
installed in them: Dakshinamurti in the south, Lingodbhavar 
in the west (rear) and Brahma (bearded) in the north. The 
ardhamandapa niche-figures are: Ganapati, Nataraja, Bhikshatanar 
and Subrahmanyar in the south, and Gauri Prasada, Durga, 


*Two other bronzes of the period of Rajendra I found elsewhere deserve mention. These are 
the urdhva tandava form of Nataraja housed in the temple at Tiruvalangadu, and the ananda tandava 
form, a treasure trove unearthed at Tiruvalangadu, now preserved in the Government Museum, 
Madras. 

**We recall that two subshrines with these selfsame names exist at the Panchanadisvarar 
temple at Tiruvaiyaru also. The Vada Kailasam there is a creation of Logamahadevi, a queen 
of Rajaraja I, and the Ten Kailasam, of Rajendra I. These twin shrines appear to have pro- 
vided the prototype for their counterparts here. It is noteworthy, however, that at Tiruvaiyaru 
they have remained as Siva shrines. 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA I*S TIME 


253 


Ardhanari and Bhairavar in the north. At the entrance from the 
mahamandapa to the ardhamandapa, there is a pair of dvarapalas , 
and, facing them, on the west wall of the mahamandapa, are 
images of Sarasvati to the north and Gajalakshmi to the south. 

The mahamandapa of the Ten Kailasam has collapsed ; and the 
niche figures in the garbhagriha and ardhamandapa walls are the 
same as in the two shrines above, except that the northern 
garbhagriha niche here is empty. The sanctum is empty, and in 
ruins. 

(C) There is a small shrine for Ganapati to the south-west of the 
main shrine. It is perhaps a later structure. 

(D) To the south-east of the palace remains, there is a small 
shrine housing Ayyanar and His Consorts, Purna and Pushkala. 
The image of the main deity is a beautiful piece of sculpture 
and of the same quality as the sculptures of the main temple. 

( E ) The Vishnu temple, about 1.5 kms to the west of the main 
temple, is associated with the lives of the Vaishnava saints Nada- 
muni, who breathed his last here, and his grandson Alavandar, 
who, failing to reach the place in time to see his grandfather alive, 
built a memorial temple at the spot where the latter died. Local 
tradition has it that this memorial temple is the Vishnu temple 
here called the Kurugai Kavalappar (corrupted into Kuruvalap- 
par) temple. The main deity is called Viranarayanap-Perumal. 

(. F ) To the north-east of the main shrine and close to the lion-well 
is the Mahishasuramardini shrine, a later structure. The main 
deity has the characteristics of a Chalukyan piece and was prob- 
ably brought here as a war trophy. 

CHALUKYAN AND KALINGAN SCULPTURES 

In addition to the Saura pitha and the Mahishasuramardini 
images above, there are a few images which may be taken to be 
of Chalukyan origin, judging from the general treatment, features 
and disposition of weapons (if any) : the Durga image found in 



254 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


the Vira Reddi street here; the four-armed image of Ganapati 
called Kanakkup-Pillaiyar installed in a small shrine a few 
hundred metres to the south-west of the big temple ; and possibly 
the sculptures of Surya and an eight-armed Durga, installed near 
the Saura pitha. 

The Department of Archaeology, Tamil Nadu Government, 
recently unearthed from a mound called Kalaichanga medu, 
close to the village of Meykavalputtur and about 2 kms east of 
the main temple, some sculptures of Kalingan origin. One is 
of Kali or Durga*, eight-armed and seated on a pedestal. There 
are three red-stone sculptures typical of Kalingan art of the ninth 
and tenth centuries a.d., namely, a standing Bhairavar, a frag- 
mentary Bhairavar with only the upper portion intact, and a 
Bhairavi. These were presumably brought as trophies of the 
Gangetic campaign in the days of Rajendra I. 

THE CHOLAGANGAM LAKE 

To consider briefly the lake now called Ponneri. It was 
brought into being by Rajendra I as a “water pillar of victory” 
{jalamayam ana jay astambham) and named Cholagangam, accord- 
ing to the Tiruvalangadu Plates of his. It has a bund of consi- 
derable height and a length of more than 5 kms. At full water- 
level, it has a water spread of nearly 130 sq. kms. It once had a 
surplus weir, and input channels from the Kollidam river and 
other sources, and must have been connected to the palace-moat. 
It has been allowed to go to seed, and a road now cuts through 
the bund in the middle, dividing the lake into two parts. 

Inscriptions: 

A surprising feature of this temple is the total absence of any 
inscriptions here of the (days of the) founder, Rajendra I. (It is 
likely that he had intended to set up ultimately a comprehensive 


*Durga images are usually found enshrined in the four cardinal directions in the periphery 
of a city, protecting it from evil. At Gangaikondasolapuram, such images have been found at 
Palli Odai in the north, at Meykavalputtur in the east (a majestic seven-foot figure) and on the 
Vira Reddi street in the south (the Chalukyan image already mentioned). An image was found 
in the west, on the bund of the great lake, and recently re-located close to the palace remains. 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA i’s TIME 


255 


record giving the foundation details and the list of endowments 
made to the temple by himself and others, following the example 
of his illustrious father in respect of the Tanjavur temple who 
set up such a record in the last year of his life; but, as we know, 
death came to Rajendra I at Brahmadesam, far from his capital. 
His two immediate successors also did not apparently find the 
time to record his endowments or theirs. Whatever be the 
causes, the earliest, and incidentally the longest, inscription in the 
temple is of the reign of Vira Rajendra (ARE 82 of 1892; SII, 
IV, 529). Running to 216 lines, it records in fact a compendium 
of six different orders, issued over the years by Rajendra I and 
his sons : the earliest order is of the twenty-third regnal year of 
Rajendra I (a.d. 1035), followed by two of Rajadhiraja I of his 
twenty-sixth and thirtieth regnal years (a.d. 1044 and 1048). For 
the most part, the contents of this inscription form a repetition of 
the foundation inscription of Rajaraja I at the Tanjavur temple, 
and appear to transfer in effect to the (local) temple most of the 
benefactions made to the Tanjavur temple by Rajaraja I. The 
first mention of the name of Gangaikonda-cholisvaram for the 
temple is to be found in this inscription. Vira Rajendra refers to 
his father as the conqueror of Purvadesam, Ganga (region) and 
Kadaram ( Purvadesamum , Gangaiyum, Kadaramum kondarulina 
Ayyar ), to Rajadhiraja I as the victor at Kalyanapuram and 
Kollapuram who died on the back of an elephant as a hero in the 
battlefield ( Kalyanapuramum Kollapuramum kondu anai mel tunjina 
Annal ), and goes on to narrate his own victories (against the 
Western Ghalukyas and in the reconquest of Vengi). The in- 
scription tells us that altogether 340 kalanjus of gold and 1,10,000 
kalams of paddy were to be given to the temple treasury annually 
by various villages named in it (with precise details of the indivi- 
dual contributions to be made). 

An inscription which has suffered fragmentation apparently 
due to a later shoddy reconstruction of the steps and the landing 
is of the forty-first year of Kulottunga I ; it is the record of a 
Gahadavala king, with whose dynasty the Cholas, particularly 
in the days of Kulottunga I, kept up close contacts. It gives the 
Gahadavala prasasti almost completely, but stops short of the 



256 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


name of the king and the purpose of the inscription. The Gaha- 
davalas were great patrons of Sun worship and their influence 
maybe read into the setting up, during the reign of Kulottunga I, 
of the only known Sun temple in the Chola country, at Suryanar- 
Koyil. 

We have a few fragmentary inscriptions of Kulottunga III 
(by the side of the flight of steps leading to the mahamandapa 
entrance), referring to his victories over the Pandyas, Sri Lanka 
and Karuvur and to the erection of a commemorative pillar 
of victory. 

There are four Pandyan inscriptions. One is of the second year 
of Jatavarman Sundara Pandya, who proved to be the nemesis 
of the Cholas ; it records the institution by him of a daily service 
in the temple in his name, called the Sundara Pandyan sandhi 
and the grant of lands for the purpose. An inscription of the sixth 
year of his brother Vikrama Pandya records the establishment 
by him of a service in his name called the Rajakkal Nayan 
sandhi and the grant of 20 velis of land for the purpose. The other 
two are of the fourth and fifth years of Maravarman Kulasekhara 
(the latter an incomplete one).* 

UTTATTUR (URRATTUR) 

SIDDHARATNESVARAR (TOGUMAMANI NAYANAR) 
57 TEMPLE 

Uttattur, whose ancient name was Urrattur, is about 3.20 kms 
(2 miles) to the south-east of Padalur, which is 34 kms (21 miles) 
from Tiruchy on the Tiruchy-Madras trunk road. It has an 
Early Chola temple, whose deity is now called Siddharatnesvarar, 
but was known in olden days by the name of Togumamani 
Nayanar; in spite of its antiquity, it is not one of those temples 
celebrated in song by the Nayanmars; Appar has, however, 
mentioned this temple in his Kshetrak Kovai (stanza 10) and Adaivut- 
tirut-tandagam as one of the celebrated Siva temples of his time. 

♦An authentic guide-book on this temple is published by R. Nagaswaniy, Director of 
Archaeology, Government of Tamil Nadu. 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA I’s TIME 


257 


The temple comprises the main shrine locally called Andavar 
temple, a yaga-mandapa, a hall known as the Uttamasolan mandapa , 
and two gopuras. To the north of the main shrine is the Amman 
shrine dedicated to Akhilandesvari. 

The presiding deity has undergone considerable changes in 
its name: starting off as the Mahadevar of Urrattur in the days 
of Rajaraja I and Rajendra I, it is called Urrattur Peruman- 
adigal in the days of Rajadhiraja I; Togumamani Andar, in the 
days of the Later Cholas beginning with Vikrama Chola; Togu- 
mamani Nayakar or Nayanar in the days of Rajadhiraja II and 
for over two centuries thereafter; and finally, Tuyya Mamani 
Nayanar in the days of Achyuta Raya of the Vijayanagara rulers. 

The temple abounds in inscriptions. On the west side of the 
base of the yaga-mandapa, there is an incomplete record of the 
24th year of Rajaraja I: all that we can gather from it is the 
association of a Muttaraiyar with the temple (ARE 514 of 1912). 
The next record belongs to the third year of Rajendra I and is of 
some historical importance. It refers to a gift made to the Maha- 
devar at Urrattur for the merit of one Srutiman Nakkan Chandiran 
alias Rajamalla Muttaraiyan of the elephant corps who met 
with a hero’s death while carrying out the orders of the king to 
pierce the enemy’s elephant, in the battle of Hottur (a.d. 1007: 
Fleet, Dynasties of the Kanarese Districts, p. 433) fought between 
Rajendra I and the Western Chalukya ruler Irivabedanga 
Satyasraya (ARE 515 of 1912). 

Again on the west side of the base of the yaga-mandapa, there 
are two inscriptions of the days of Rajadhiraja I. One, of his 
twenty-eighth year, refers to a sale of land to the temple of 
Urrattur Peruman-adigal (ARE 513 of 1912). The other is 
incomplete and its date unknown; it records the gift of a lamp 
to the Mahadevar of Urrattur for the merit of a woman residing 
at Tirani (ARE 516 of 1912). 

There are no inscriptions relating to the reigns of his successors 
till the days of Vikrama Chola. 

The temple faces east. The oldest parts of the temple are the 
garbhagriha and the ardhamandapa ; the former is a square of side 
2.44 ms (8'), and the ardhamandapa projects 1.88 ms (6') forward 



258 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


from it. Ahead of the ardhamandapa is the snapana mandapa , in one 
corner of which the old Nandi of the temple is kept; it is reached 
from the north or the south by a small flight of steps. The garbha- 
griha has three devakoshtas containing Dakshinamurti in the 
south, Vishnu in the west and Brahma in the north; the two 
ardhamandapa niches also contain the usual figures: Ganapati 
in the south and Durga in the north. 

The griva, sikhara and stupi are modern. The Later Chola 
gopuram at the entrance to the temple is seven-storeyed and well- 
preserved; it was in existence even by the days of Kulottunga II. 

The temple must have been a foundation of the days of 
Aditya I and has a continuous history of royal benefactions till 
well into the Vijayanagara days. Though it is an utterly neglected 
one today, it had played a significant role in the history of the 
region over the centuries : a longstanding dispute between certain 
communities in this region was settled at a meeting in the local 
Uttamasolan mandapa and the rights of the so-called Idangai 
community were finalised and recorded in an inscription, in 
the fortieth year of Kulottunga III (ARE 489 of 1912). 

The Amman shrine* has an unusual and unique set of deva- 
koshta figures, namely, the three Saktis : Jnana, Ichcha and Kriya, 
and besides Durga and Brahmi (Pis 232 to 247). 

The Cholisvaram temple : 

In the outskirts of the village, atop a low hillock, there is a 
dilapidated Later Chola temple. There are two inscriptions on 


*The Akhilandesvari shrine: Alongside and to the north of the main shrine is the Amman 
shrine, the two having a common wall of enclosure. The Amman shrine has a foundation in- 
scription on the south side of its base, and records the consecration of the presiding deity by one 
Umai Alvi alias Sivakamasundari Manikkam, one of the dancing girls of the temple of Togu- 
mamani Nayanar (the main shrine); the date of this record is not available. However, there is 
another (incomplete) record found in the same location, of the days of Kulottunga III, referring 
to a gift to a Siva-brahmana attached to the Amman shrine; the date is lost (ARE 505 and 504 
of 1912). On the west wall of the first prakara, there is a record of the sixteenth year of Kulot- 
tunga III, relating to an exchange of land given to a dancing girl of the temple of Togumamani 
Nayanar of Urrattur for the maintenance of a shrine for Umai Isvaram udaiya Nayanar which 
she had constructed in one of the devadana villages (ARE 503 of 1912). If we hazard the 
reasonable conjecture that the last-mentioned shrine was built by the same girl Umai Alvi, as 
the name of that shrine would indicate, then the Akhilandesvari shrine may be concluded to 
have come into existence about the same time, namely, early in the reign of Kulottunga III. 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA i’s TIME 


259 


the south wall of the temple, one on either side of the entrance. 
One is of the thirteenth year, 194th day of Kulottunga II (a.d. 
1146-47), and records that the temple (of Cholisvaram) was 
built by a certain Vana Vichchadira Nadalvan, a younger brother 
of Brahmadaraya Muttaraiyar, and that the income from the vil- 
lage of Siruvalaippur in Kannak-Kiliyur nadu was assigned to that 
temple (ARE 531 of 1912). The other is of the fourth year, 226th 
day of Rajaraja II (a.d. 1 150-51), and records that the village 
of Ulattambadi in the same nadu was gifted as a devadana to the 
temple of Kulottungasola Isvaram Udaiyar of Urrattur; the 
grant is recorded and attested by the royal secretary ( tiru mandira 
olai) named Rajasraya Pallavaraiyan (ARE 530 of 1912). 

This temple is thus a foundation of the days of Kulottunga II 
(Anapaya) and was named after him. It is now in utter ruins, 
and urgent steps are needed to conserve what is left of it. 

TIRUPPATTUR (TIRUPPID AVUR) 

TIRUMANDAPAM UDAIYA NAYANAR (AYYANAR) 

TEMPLE 58 

The village of Tiruppattur (to be distinguished from its 
better-known namesakes in the North Arcot and Ramanatha- 
puram districts) is about 30.50 kms (19 miles) from the town of 
Tiruchy and 5 kms (3 miles) from Siruganur to the left of the 
trunk road from Tiruchy to Madras. It is referred to as Tirup- 
Pidavur in ancient Tamil literature and in local inscriptions. 
There are a number of temples in this locality: (1) The Kailasa- 
nathar temple; (2) The Tirumandapam udaiya Nayanar (Ayya- 
nar) temple; (3) The Purushottama Emperumanar (Vishnu) 
temple; (4) The Brahmapurisvarar temple; and (5) The Kasi 
Visvanathar temple. The following temples are mentioned in 
inscriptions to have existed in the locality: the Siva temple of 
Tiru-Veppan-terri udaiya Nayanar; the Anbichchuram udaiya 
Nayanar temple; and the temple of Subrahmanyar (or Kunram- 
erinda) Pillaiyar. 

The Kailasanathar temple, built of stone, seems to have been 



260 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


erected in the 8th century a.d., between the reigns of Rajasimha 
alias Narasimhavarman II and Nandivarman II, and bears a 
close resemblance to its namesake at Kanchipuram in style and 
features except for the absence here of the Somaskandar panel 
in the rear wall of the garbhagriha. 

Next to the above temple is the Ayyanar temple called in 
inscriptions that of Tirumandapam udaiya Nayanar. We shall 
revert to this important temple below. It seems probable that the 
Siva temple (shrine) called that of Tiru-Veppan-terri udaiya 
Nayanar in local inscriptions, was located on a platform in the 
prakara of this temple. The other two temples, of Anbichchuram 
udaiya Nayanar and Subrahmanya Pillaiyar, mentioned in 
inscriptions, are not traceable. 

The Brahmapurisvarar temple is a big one of the Middle 
Chola period. We are, however, unable to trace its evolution in 
time because of the total absence of inscriptions on its walls. 
Two interesting temple-cars with metal attachments are worthy 
of notice here. 

Half a mile (800 ms) north of the preceding temple, there 
is a Vishnu temple, which must be that of Purushottama Em- 
peruman referred to in an inscription of Jatavarman Vira Pandya 
(of about a.d. 1277). It must have been an ancient Pallava 
temple, reconstructed later. In the western prakara of this temple, 
there is a huge stone image of Vishnu, 1.96 ms (6' 5") high and 
0.79 m (2' 7") wide, of good workmanship and assignable to the 
Pallava period. 

To the far west of the village is a Siva temple called that of 
Kasi Visvanathar. It is of the Later Chola or possibly Vijaya- 
nagara period. 

Historically, and especially from the point of view of Saiva 
hagiology, the Ayyanar temple here is important. Appar mentions 
the temple of Tiruppidavur in his Kshetra tiruttandagam. In the 
last section of his Periyapuranam (twelfth century a.d.), called 
the Vellanaich-charukkam (The canto of the white elephant), Sek- 
kilar describes graphically the last journey, to Mount Kailasa, 
of Sundarar and Cheraman Perumal. When the former, seated 
on the white elephant sent by Lord Siva, set off for Kailasa, the 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA i’s TIME 


26 l 


latter got on to a horse and merely whispered the Siva-mantra 
( panchaksharam ) into its ears, to find himself in Kailasa even ahead 
of Sundarar. Both of them were blessed with a vision of Siva 
with His Consort in Kailasa, well-adorned and attended by 
Brahma, Vishnu, Kama and Rati, Murugan, Vinayaka, Kari 
(Ayyanar), the devas, vidyadharas , yakshas, kvnnaras, nagas, dvara- 
palas, dikpalas, dik-gajas and others. This divine “procession” 
is described by Cheraman Perumal in his swan-song called the 
Tiruk Kailaya Jnana Ula ; this is the first instance of this form of 
Tamil poetry and is hence also called the Adi Ula. This Ula 
of Cheraman Perumal is held by tradition to have been expounded 
by Varuna to Siva’s devotees at Tiruvanjaikkalam (Mahodai or 
Kodungolur, modern Cranganore), the home-town of Cheraman 
Perumal, and by Sattanar (Ayyanar) in the temple at Tirup- 
pidavur. 

The inscriptional name of Tirumandapam udaiya Nayanar 
temple for this temple would appear to be in commemoration 
of this legendary final episode in the life of Cheraman Perumal. 
An earlier version of the present stone mandapa in front of the 
Ayyanar shrine must have existed from the days of Sundarar and 
Cheraman Perumal (ninth century a.d.). The present shrine 
and mandapa seem assignable to the Middle Chola period. The 
earliest Chola inscriptions here are two, of the days of Rajendra I ; 
one, of the second regnal year, is on the east wall of the mandapa, 
and the other, of the sixth year, on the stone pedestal on which the 
images of Ayyanar and His two Consorts are placed. The first 
mentions that the residents of Tiruppidavur nadu and two other 
nadus granted the lease of some fallow land to a servant of the 
temple of Anbichchuram udaiya Nayanar at Tiruppidavur. 
The second is fragmentary and mentions a gift by one Uttama- 
sola Muvendavelan. 

In the north-east corner of the prakara of the Ayyanar temple 
and to the north of the (main) mandapa, there are a shrine and 
a mandapa, both in ruins. On the pillars of the ruined mandapa 
there are two inscriptions of the days of Rajadhiraja I. One 
is fragmentary and contains only the historical introduction. 
The other, of his thirty-first year, refers to a gift of cows for a lamp 



262 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


to the temple of Pillaiyar Veppan-terri udaiyar at Tiruppidavur 
(described as situated in Rajaraja valanadu) by a native of 
Mec.hchumangalam, a hamlet of Perumpaluvur (Melappaluvur), 
the headquarters of the Paluvettaraiyars. In this connection, 
it may also be mentioned that an inscription of the sixth regnal 
year of Jatavarman Sundara Pandya (I?) found on the north 
wall of the main mandapa records a gift of the income of two villages 
to the temples of Tirumandapam udaiya Nayanar and Tiru 
Veppan-terri udaiya Nayanar here; also the residents of Urrattur 
Malavi nadu gave gifts for offerings and repairs to the temple 
of Subrahmanya Pillaiyar in the same village (ARE 594 of 
1908). The Veppan-terri udaiyar shrine might have been located 
within the premises of the Ayyanar temple: could it have been 
the shrine in ruins (in the prakara ) already referred to? The 
Subrahmanyar temple is referred to as that of Kunram-erinda 
Pillaiyar in a record of the fourth year of Rajaraja III (ARE 
595 of 1908). There are several other Later Chola inscriptions 
in this temple, as well as of the Hoysalas (Vira Ramanatha) 
and of the Pandyas of the Second Empire. 

As already stated, the main shrine is of stone and consists 
of a garbhagriha, housing the images of Ayyanar and His two 
Consorts (later additions?), and the mandapa in front. There is 
a prakara with a few shrines in it, enclosed by a madil with a three- 
storeyed gopuram built in the thirteenth century a.d. which 
bears an inscription of its builder. There is a unique stone sculp- 
ture of an elephant (the vahana of Ayyanar) in front of the temple. 

The importance given to the mandapa , to the extent of naming 
the deity after it (so to speak), is of interest. An analogous situa- 
tion exists at Uttaramerur, where the big mandapa in the Vai- 
kuntha Perumal temple apparently first served as the meeting 
place of the mahasabha of the chaturvedimangalam (probably with 
a Vishnu image as the presiding deity) and later on the present 
Vishnu temple was erected adjoining it, in the days of Kulot- 
tunga I. 

As far as our knowledge goes, this is the only important 
stone temple for Ayyanar, not to speak of the huge elephant 
vehicle in stone sculpture in front of it. The Abhiramesvarar 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA I’s TIME 


263 


temple at Ayyur-Agaram (in the vicinity of Villupuram, South 
Arcot district) is, in spite of the name given to it, a Sasta temple. 
The central deity is still Sasta, while in recent times a Linga has 
been installed in the prakara, perhaps justifying the new name of 
Abhiramesvarar (Pis 248 to 250). 


MAHADANAPURAM 

CHOLISVARAM TEMPLE 59 

The village of Mahadanapuram is on the south bank of the 
Kaveri, 54 kms west of Tiruchy on the Tiruchy-Karur road. 
The Cholisvaram temple is located in the wilderness about three 
kms from Mahadanapuram in a southerly direction. On the 
south wall of the central shrine is an incomplete inscription of 
the 5th year of Rajendra Ghola deva (II), from which we get the 
fragmentary information that certain gifts were possibly made 
for the worship of a deity called Rajendra Vitankar, presumably 
a metallic processional image, set up in the temple of Sri Kaila- 
sam Udaiyar alias Sri Madhurantaka Isvaram Udaiyar, located 
in Cholakulamanikka chaturvedimangalam (Mahadanapuram) 
of Adanur nadu in Abhimanajiva valanadu, a brahmadeyam 
administered by a committee of elders called Perunguri perumak- 
kal sabhai. An inscription in the same location of the fourth 
year of Kulottunga I, relating to a gift of tax-free land to the 
temple, also mentions the above two names for the temple (ARE 

386 A and 386 of 1903: SII, VIII, 702 and 701). An inscription 
of the fifth year of Rajaraja III, registering a land-gift by a 
Hoysala military officer for the deity of Subrahmanya Pillaiyar 
set up by a local Chief in the temple, also refers to the temple by 
the name of Madhurantaka Cholisvaram Udaiyar koyil (ARE 

387 of 1930: SII, VIII, 703). 

From the fact that the earliest inscription here is of the days 
of Rajendra II and that the temple has throughout been known 
as Madhurantaka Cholisvaram, we may attribute the temple 
to the days of Rajendra I (one of whose surnames was Madhu- 
rantaka). 



264 MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 

TIRU-NALLAR(U) 

60 DARBHARANYESVARAR TEMPLE 

TirunaUaru is a railway station situated on the Peralam- 
Karaikkal branch line of the Southern Railway. It was formerly 
a French settlement, now included in the Union Territory of 
Pondicherry. It is situated on the southern bank of the Kaveri 
and the river Arisil flows close by. Its other names are Adipuri, 
Natesvaram and Nagavitankapuram (as one of the Sapta-Vitanka 
temples) ; it is a celebrated centre of Saivism. 

In modern times, Tirunallaru is famous as the home of 
Sani-Bhagavan (Lord Saturn) and it attracts a large number 
of pilgrims from all over the Tamil Nadu. It is sanctified by 
its legendary association with Nala and its glorification by Sam- 
bandar in his historical encounters with Jainism at Madurai in 
the court of Kun Pandyan who became Ninra Seer Nedumaran. 
The three Tamil saints have sung the glory of this Lord. 

Sambandar: 

This Saiva saint has four hymns on the Lord of Tiru- 
Nallaru. There are two hymns which seem to have been sung 
during his visit to this place from Dharmapuram accompanied 
by Tiru Nilakantha Yalpanar, the first hymn beginning with 
Bhogamartha. In a disputation over the merit of his hymns with 
the Jainas, held in the court of the Pandyan king, the palm leaf 
containing this hymn was thrown into the fire, in the test by 
fire-ordeal; and since it remained unconsumed, it acquired the 
name of Pachchaip-padigam (the hymn that was unburnt). In 
this hymn, the Lord of Tirunallaru is described as Ardhanaris- 
varar, the master of the Rishabha mount, with the attributes 
of the deer, the axe, the snake, the trident, the jata, the crescent, 
the Ganga and the Rishabha flag, the dancer in the cremation 
ground, the overthrower of the Tripura asuras , the poison- 
throated, the one inaccessible to Brahma and Vishnu, the wan- 
dering mendicant with a skull for his bowl and the suppressor 
of the heretical Buddhists and Jainas. After this victorious contest 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA l’s TIME 


265 


with the Jainas, Sambandar has sung another hymn in which 
he glorifies together (both) the Lord of Tirunallaru and Sun- 
daresvarar, the Lord of Kudal Tiruvalavay, i.e. Madurai. This 
will prove the celebrity obtained by Tirunallaru in Saivite 
hagiology in the Tamil land. 

In another hymn, there is a vivid description of the natural 
beauty of the temple campus, as full of trees, flowering plants 
and rice fields, where the Lord was worshipped by the Nagas, 
Vidyadharas, Devas and the brahmanas well-versed in the Vedas 
and the Vedangas and in the practice of sacrifices, and whose 
Lord was the saviour of Markandeya from Yama. 

Special mention is made of the devotion and salvation of 
the Puranic Nala maharaja who is said to have got rid of his 
mortal ailments after he worshipped and gained the grace of 
Saturn and Darbharanyesvarar in this temple (stanza 3 — Nalan 
keluvi nalum valipadu-sey Nallarey) . 

Appar: 

Appar has sung two hymns concerning Tirunallaru. In 
one hymn he proclaims that one who utters once the name 
of the Lord of Tirunallaru will have all his sins washed away. 
In addition to Siva’s usual attributes, He is described as the 
destroyer of Gajasura, the Lord worshipped by Vishnu (Naranan) 
perhaps for the gift of the chakra, the destroyer of the Tripura 
asuras and of Yama, the one who assumed the role of the hunter 
(kirata) to help Arjuna, the one who asserted and established 
his supremacy over Vishnu and Brahma (Lingodbhavar) and 
the one who humbled the pride of Ravana. 

Appar’s other hymn is in the Tiruttandagam, in which he 
describes Siva as the one who cut off the fifth head of Brahma, 
the one who gave the Pasupata-ajfi-a to Arjuna, the destroyer 
of Manmatha, the bearer of khadvanga and the wearer of the 
garland of skulls, the Lord of the Rishabha mount, Kankaladevar 
carrying the bones of Brahma and Vishnu, the bestower of grace 
on the devotee spider (Jambunatha temple) and the Lord of the 
hill of Tiruchy, the remover of the evil influences of the planets 
and the destroyer of Daksha. 



266 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


Incidentally, other important Saiva temples mentioned in 
these hymns are those of Tiruppainjili, Tiruppurambiyam, Tirup- 
pugalur, Tiruvalisvaram and Vedaranyam (Tirumaraikkadu). 

Sundaramurti : 

The Saint Sundaramurti in his hymn mentions how the Lord 
of Tiruvennainallur won him over to a new life of divine service 
even in the course of the celebration of his wedding. He also 
mentions how Siva, his Friend, saved him as his love messenger. 

The central shrine at Tirunallaru is dedicated to Darbharan- 
yesvarar. The antiquity of the temple itself is brought out by 
its association with the Puranic king Nala who, long pestered 
by Saturn, found his radical cure by his devotion to the deity 
of Saturn in this temple, which is situated in a cella on the right 
of the inner gateway without a spire. There is also a tank in 
front named after Nala, and held sacred by devotees. As all the 
three Tamil Nayanmars have celebrated the Lord of this temple 
in their hymns, its existence as early as the seventh century 
a.d. is definite; but the present stone structure has to be ascribed 
to the Middle Chola period. Tirunallaru is said to have been 
a brahmadeyam situated in Mulaiyur nadu in Uyyakkondan vala- 
nadu, and in the days of Rajaraja I came to be renamed Cholen- 
drasimha chaturvedimangalam, after a title of his. The earliest 
inscription is of Rajadhiraja I, which incidentally refers to 
gifts by his illustrious father Rajendra I. By the 34th regnal 
year of Rajadhiraja I, Uyyakkondan valanadu was renamed 
J ayangondasola valanadu after a surname of the ruler (ARE 
437 °f 1 965-66) and in an inscription of Rajendra deva II it 
is called Adhirajendra valanadu (ARE 440 of 1965-66).* 


*In the 34th year of the reign of Rajadhiraja I, an interesting reference is made to the arrange- 
ments for enacting a drama (aryakkuttu) in five acts ( angams ) during certain festivals in the temple. 
Certain actors headed by Srikanthan Kamban ( alias Abhimanameru Natakap-Peraraiyan), 
among whom were the sons of Srikanthan Arangan, who were already in the enjoyment of the 
right of ariyakkuttu in the temple, were given tax-free land as gift for enacting the five-act drama 
on the occasions of Masi-Makham and Vaikasi Visakham festivals in the temple of Tirunallar 
Udaiyar of Tirunallaru ; the gift included a provision of 20 kalams of paddy as tiruvilakkorru to the 
same donees and their troupe for their make-up at the rate of one nali of oil for the face and one 
rnli of rice for the face-power for each anga (act). Cf. the provision made to a Santi-KutUm for 
enacting the drama of Rajarajesvara-Natakam in the Tanjavur temple (SII, II, pp.306-7). 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA i’s TIME 


267 


In the Later Chola period, in the days of Kulottunga I and 
Vikrama Chola, Tirunallaru is described as Virudarajabhayan- 
kara chaturvedimangalam, a brakmadeyam in Mulaiyur nadu, 
situated in Rajanarayana valanadu, perhaps named after a 
title of Kulottunga I (ARE 459 and 442 of 1965-66). The latest 
inscriptions belong to two Pandyan rulers of the first quarter 
of the fourteenth century (Pis 251 and 252). 

Thy agar aja shrine: 

The temple of Tirunallaru has three prakaras; the outermost 
has a gopuram of five storeys. North-west of the middle wall of 
enclosure, there is a shrine of Thyagaraja; it seems to be a Later 
Chola structure, as we find on its walls inscriptions only of the 
later Pallava king Kopperunjinga and of Rajendra III, the last 
member of the Chola line. 

Nala-Narayanap-Perumal Koyil : 

North-west of the Siva temple is the shrine now called that of 
Nala-Narayanap-Perumal. From a third year inscription assigned 
by the Government Epigraphist to Rajendra II, we learn of 
the existence of a temple called the Rajendrasola Vinnagar 
where a meeting of the mahasabha of Arumolideva chaturvedi- 
mangalam took place, in the course of which the sabha received 
80 kasus from the temple of Mahadevar of Tirunallaru (ARE 
440 of 1965-66). Similarly, in a record dated in a.d. 1126, 
there is a reference to a temple by the name of Kulottungasola 
Vinnagar, in whose premises the sabhaiyar of Virudarajabhayan- 
kara chaturvedimangalam met and sold land for mid-day 
offerings (ARE 448 of 1965-66, found on the south wall of the 
mandapa) . Is the present Vishnu temple the same as the Rajendra- 
sola Vinnagar (ARE 440 of 1965-66) and the Kulottungasola 
vinnagar (Vikrama Chola, ARE 448 061965-66)? 

TIRUMALAVADI 

VAIDYANATHASWAMI TEMPLE 61 

Tirumalavadi lies on the north bank of the river Kollidam 



268 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


(the Coleroon) opposite Tiruvaiyaru. It is 18 kilometres from 
Pullampadi, which lies on the Tiruchy-Ariyalur road. This 
village was a settlement of Malavars and hence acquired its 
name. The main temple of the village is dedicated to Vaidya- 
nathasvami. In the inscriptions the deity of this temple was called 
the Mahadevar of Tirumaluvadi and the village was called 
Tirumaluvadi. It has a long and continuous history, with which 
we have briefly dealt in the Early Chola Art, Part I (pp. 131-2). 
This temple as it originally stood dates back to the days of 
Aditya I and has associations with the Rashtrakuta king Krishna 
II and later on with Parantaka I and Sundara Chola. 

On the south wall of the central shrine as it stands to-day 
there is a record of the twenty-eighth year, thirty-ninth day 
of Rajaraja I which mentions that the king ordered that the 
srivimana of the temple be pulled down and a new srivimana built. 
In this record, the village is described as a devadana, in 
Poygai nadu, a sub-division of Vadagarai Rajendrasimha 
valanadu. The order further observed that all the inscriptions 
on the walls of the srivimana should, before it was dismantled, 
be transcribed in the books with a view to re-inscribing them 
on the walls of the new structure. The record reads as follows: 

“ Tirumagal pola kovirajarajakesaripanmarana Udaiyar 

Sri Rajarajadevarkku yandu 28-avadu nal SQ-nal Vadagarai 
Rajendrasimha Valanattu, Poygai nattu devadanam Tirumaluvadi 
Udaiyar sri vimanam vaangi tirukkarrali yedukka venru Udaiyar 
Sri Rajarajadevar arulichcheya tirukkarrali eduttu sri vimanam vaangi i 
srivimanattulla kalvettupadi pottagattil sorpikka venru adhikarigal 
Irumudisola Muvendavelar Niyogamum Mummudisola Brahmadhirayar 
Niyogamum . ...” (SII, V, 652; ARE 92 of 1895). 

From another record relating to the fourteenth year, 
seventieth day of Rajendra I found on the same wall (ARE 91 
of 1895), we get to know that these inscriptions were re-inscribed 
on the walls of the new srivimana, which would mean that the 
reconstruction was completed latest by that year. The inscription 
mentions that the order ( olai ) to re-inscribe was conveyed by 
Narakkan Raman Arumoli Uttamachola Brahmamarayan, the 
Dandanayaka who belonged to the brahmadeyam of Keralantaka- 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA l’s TIME 


269 

chaturvedimangalam in Vennadu in Uyyakkondan valanadu, to 
Kulavan Solan, who was in charge of the temple ( srikaryam 
seykinra ), Pichchan, the Devakanmis of the temple, the Sabha of 
Sri-Gandaraditta chaturvedimangalam and the Sabha of Perum- 
puliyur; and the record further says that the earlier inscriptions 
were re-inscribed according to the books (“ kalvettu vidippadi munbu 
kalvettu sortta pottagappadi” — SII, V, 651; ARE 91 of 1895). 

Such was the care and regard for past charitable endowments 
and such was the historical sense displayed by the Chola rulers. 
The temple of Aditya I’s days should have been reconstructed 
between a.d. 1013 and 1026. Unfortunately the structure has 
undergone further renovation at a later date with the result 
that some of the features of the Rajaraja I and Rajendra I’s 
days have been lost. 


RAMANATHANKOYIL 

SIVA (MAHADEVAR) TEMPLE 
(PANCHAVAN MADEVI ISVARAM) 62 

The hamlet of Ramanathankoyil is about 2 kms south-west 
of the village of Pattisvaram and falls within the revenue juris- 
diction of that village. The local name for the site where the 
temple of Mahadevar is located is kolait-tidal. Pattisvaram, Rama- 
nathankoyil, Palaiyarai, Tiruchchattimurram and Darasuram 
were important Chola centres lying close to one another, having 
formed an integral part of the ancient secondary Chola capital 
of Palaiyarai (now called Palaiyaru). In this capital, many a 
Chola monarch got himself anointed. Today, the village of 
Palaiyarai is an insignificant place, with no remnants of its 
past glory. It is referred to in a record of Kundavai Pirattiyar 
(ARE 639 of 1909) as the royal home of her nephew Rajendra I. 
We learn from another record, of an order issued from the 
palace here by the king (ARE 463 of 1908). Intimately asso- 
ciated with the Cholas as it was, it now contains no inscriptions 
of theirs; the only record found there (ARE 254 of 1927) states 
that the big mandapa and the sopana (flight of steps) in the 



270 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


Somanathadevar temple there were constructed by Vanadarayan 
Narasingadevan of Poruvanur in Saka 1375 (a.d. 1453). The 
village of Pattisvaram is within five kms due north-west of 
Palaiyaru, and that of Ramanathankoyil is close to the latter. 

There is a Siva (Mahadevar) temple at Ramanathankoyil with 
a dilapidated, three-storeyed gopuram in front. The temple faces 
east. On either side of the entrance to the central shrine, there 
is a fine dvarapala sculpture. The south wall of the central shrine 
contains fine sculptures of Bhikshatanar, Ganesa, and Dakshi- 
namurti; Brahma, Durga, Ardhanari and Gangadharar are on 
the north wall, and Lingodbhavar is in the west . There are 
loose sculptures of Chandesvarar, Bhairavar and Chandrasekharar 
lying in the mandapa. The lingam in the sanctum is fluted, reminiscent 
of the Pallava Rajasimha tradition. 

An inscription of the seventh year of Rajendra I (ARE 271 of 
1927) found here, mentions a gift of land for worship and 
offerings, by the king and a queen of his ( Nambirattiyar ) made 
to “the Mahadevar of Panchavan Mahadevi Isvaram, built 
as a pallippadai at Palaiyaru alias Mudikonda Cholapuram”: 
provision is made for offerings on the days of Tiruvadirai, the 
natal star of Rajendra I, and Revati, stated there to be that of the 
(unnamed) queen. 

During the Middle Chola period, two Chola queens bore 
the name Panchavan Mahadevi (Madevi) : one of them was 
a queen of Rajaraja I, and the other of Rajendra I. Parakesari 
Uttama Chola also had a queen of that name (ARE 491 of 1925). 
While Rajendra I’s queen of that name finds mention in only 
one record (ARE 464 of 1918), Rajaraja I’s queen is associated 
with several acts of piety, extending in time over practically 
the whole reign of Rajaraja I. Thus, an inscription of the 
third year of Rajaraja I at Tirumalpuram describes her as 
“Chola Mahadevi alias Panchavan Mahadeviyar, queen of 
Mummudi Chola” and mentions that she made a gift of a lamp 
to the local temple (ARE 294 of 1906). In the ninth regnal year 
of Rajaraja I, a servant of hers made a gift of an ornament to 
Uma-Bhattaraki at Tiruvidaimarudur (ARE 278 of 1907). 
In the tenth year of Rajaraja I, this queen set up a gold image 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA i’s TIME 


271 


of Uma-sahita at Tiruvidaimarudur (ARE 254 of 1907). An 
inscription of his 16th year at Tiruppugalur mentions a tax-free 
gift of land by “Nakkan Tillai Alagiyar alias Panchavan Mahade- 
viyar, queen of Rajaraja I” for festivals and offerings on the day 
of Sadaiyam every month, this star being both the king’s and 
her own natal star (ARE 47 of 1928). An inscription of his 
2 1 st year at the same place mentions that the assembly of Karo- 
duchcheri received 15 kasus and granted remission of taxes on 
lands granted to the temple by the king and this queen for 
special worship on the day of Sadaiyam every month (ARE 54 
of 1928). Again, an inscription of his 23rd year at the same 
place mentions that a servant of this queen’s presented nine 
flowers of gold to Konapiran, the lord of Tiruppugalur (ARE 
62 of 1928). Finally, from an inscription of the 27th year of 
Rajaraja I at Melappaluvur (ARE 385 of 1924), we learn that 
Nakkan Panchavan Mahadevi was the daughter of Avani- 
Kandarppa-purathu-devanar of Paluvur, and that, at her request, 
the king provided for offerings and worship in the local temple 
by granting an additional income of 900 kalams of paddy (de- 
rived from an enhancement of rents) following a re-survey 
and re-assessment of lands. 

In the Rajarajesvaram temple, she set up two images (as 
already seen), namely of (1) Tanjai Alagar (Siva dancing on 
Muyalakan) with Uma Paramesvari and Ganapati, and (2) 
Patanjali-devar with five hoods mounted on a single crowned 
head, two arms, a human body above the waist and three coils 
below it. She also made a large number of gifts to both of them 
(SII, II, 51 and 53).* 

In view of the many acts of devotion attributed to Queen 
Panchavan Madevi of Rajaraja I, it is highly probable that 
the pallippadai was erected over her mortal remains (though 
Uttama Chola and Rajendra I had queens of the same name). 
Though there is no foundation inscription revealing its date 


*As already seen in our chapter on Rajaraja I, section on gifts of icons to Rajarajesvaram 
by his queens, if indeed Panchavan Mahadevi and Chola Mahadevi were one and the same 
person, then this list of benefactions is further enhanced. 



272 MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 

or builder, it is likely that it was erected by Rajendra I himself 
in homage to the saintly character of his step-mother. 

In any event, this temple is unique as the only pallippadai 
known to be erected in honour of a queen. The ARE for 1926-27 
states that “some interested hand has attempted to erase the 
word pallippadai ; nevertheless, the word can be clearly traced 
in the inscription”. We have already seen {Early Chola Temples , 
pp 215-7) that Rajaraja I built a sepulchral temple over the 
mortal remains of his grandfather Arinjaya at Melpadi, calling 
it Arinjigai Isvaram. 

The above inscription of Rajendra I’s found on the north, 
west and south sections of the garbhagriha and ardhamandapa 
walls, also makes mention of the mathadhipati Lakulisvara Pandita 
who supervised the affairs of the temple in collaboration with 
“Venkatan Kovandai of Maruthur in Serrur kurram, a division 
of Kshatriyasikhamani valanadu”. We will see, when discussing 
Tiruvorriyur, the hold which the Lakulisa and Soma Siddhanta 
cults had over the Cholas in general, and over Rajendra I in 
particular (Pis 253 to 261). 

TIRUVAIYARU 

TEN KAIL AS AM UDAIYAR 
63 (DAKSHINA KAIL AS AM) TEMPLE 

In my Early Chola Art Part I, I have dealt with the Pancha- 
nadisvarar temple and its art and architectural features (pp. 149- 
152). In the campus of this big temple there are a number of 
smaller temples or shrines among which the more important 
are Uttara Kailasam, Dakshina Kailasam and Dharmambika 
shrines. Uttara Kailasam (or Vada Kailasam) temple has been 
dealt with in the chapter on Rajaraja I’s temples. 

The shrine of Ten Kailasam is in the southern outer prakara 
of the Panchanadisvarar temple. It is associated with the life of 
the Tamil saint Appar of the seventh century a.d. He is said to 
have been tirelessly wending his way to the north to reach 
Kailasa. Even after losing his legs in the strenuous journey, 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA l’s TIME 


273 


he struggled on to reach his goal. Siva was pleased with his 
devotion and desired to reward his labours. He ordered the 
saint to bathe in the nearby tank and promised him divine 
grace after he emerged from the holy tank at Tiruvaiyaru. The 
miracle happened. Appar, rising from the holy tank, saw the 
beatific vision of Siva and Parvati; and the saint poured forth 
a hymn of ecstasy on seeing “the divine vision that no mortal 
eyes had seen before” ( kandariyadana kanden ). Ever since this 
episode, there has existed this shrine of Ten Kailasam at Tiru- 
vaiyaru. {See Four Chola Temples). 

It was this celebrated shrine that was rebuilt of stone in the 
days of Rajendra I. It bears on its east wall an inscription men- 
tioning his full regnal title and name as given in his copper 
plate grants. It reads thus: 

Svasti Sri: Raj ad raj any a makuta sreni ratneshu sasanam 
Etad Rajendra Cholasya Parakesarivarmanah” . 

An undated inscription of the same ruler found on the 
eastern base records in detail the various ornaments given to 
the temple (ARE 148 of 1918). A detailed record found on 
the east wall relates to Rajendra II and enumerates the list 
of ornaments gifted to Adavallar by a servant of Nampirattiyar 
Trailokyam Udaiyar, a queen of Rajendra II (ARE 213 of 
1894, SII, V, 512). 

The shrine consists of a garbhagriha, an ardhamandapa and a 
mukhamandapa. The peristyle round this main shrine is supported 
by 44 Nolamba pillars brought here perhaps as trophies of 
war from Hemavati, the Nolamba capital, by king Rajendra I, 
to beautify his temple. Some important sculptures on the walls 
of this shrine are Subrahmanyar, Durga and Brahma, all be- 
longing to the age of Rajendra I (Pis 262 to 265). 


TIRUVARUR 

THYAGARAJASVAMIN TEMPLE 64 

In my Early Chola Temples (a.d. 907-985), I have dealt with 



274 MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 

the importance of Tiruvarur as a cultural and religious centre 
of South India during the period of the early Cholas (pp. 192-7). 
In particular we have dealt with the Achalesvarar shrine (other- 
wise called Tiru-Ara-Neri-Alvar temple) in detail. Briefly, this 
shrine was a foundation of Sembiyan Mahadevi, the generous 
royal benefactress, who built numerous temples during her long 
and dedicated life of piety. 

The heart of the township is occupied by the expansive 
campus of the Thyagarajasvamin temple and the sacred tank of 
Kamalalaya to its west. A brief description is given of the 
temple complex which occupies an area of about twenty acres. 
The core of the temple consists of the twin shrines of Valmiki- 
nathar and Thyagaraja. There are three prakaras and including 
the area of habitation of the temple servants and the local re- 
sidents, five prakaras. The Valmikinathar shrine is the hub of 
the entire complex and the gateways on the inner, middle and 
outer prakaras on the eastern side are along the axis of this 
shrine. Besides, it is also the most ancient shrine. The Thyaga- 
raja shrine lies parallel to the former and to its south. 
These two shrines, independent of each other otherwise, share 
a common mahamandapa. Obviously as a result of the addition 
of this shrine at a later date, the symmetry of the temple has 
been lost and so the circumambulatory passage round the two 
shrines is narrow in the south and wide (as originally intended) 
in the north. There is a double-storyed tiruch-churru-maligai running 
all round the twin shrines hugging the wall of enclosure. The 
passage between the shrines and the peristyle is now covered 
excepting round the portions adjoining the srivimanas of the 
two shrines. The gopuram over the inner gateway is three-storeyed 
with a griva and a sala- type sikhara with five kalasas on top. 

In the second prakara lies the Achalesvarar shrine, in the 
south-eastern side. While both the (twin) shrines face east, the 
Achalesvarar shrine faces west; it is one of the four important 
shrines in this complex, dedicated to Siva leaving out the twin 
shrines, the other three being the Atakesvarar shrine, the Anandes- 
varar shrine and the Siddhisvarar shrine which are located res- 
pectively in the south-west, north-west and north-east corners 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA I’s TIME 


275 


of the second prakara; these are, however, very small shrines 
constructed during later periods, the Anandesvarar being an 
all-brick structure. Another structure of note in this prakara is 
the big hall known as the Rajanarayanan Tirumandapam (named 
after a surname of Kulottunga I) which lies between the eastern 
gopurams of the first and the second prakaras. It spreads longi- 
tudinally in the east-west direction, measuring 47.24 ms (155') 
by 1 7-37 ms (57 )3 an d is symmetrical about the axis of the 
Valmikinathar shrine and of the two gopurams. This mandapa 
has a low basement of 0.91 m (three feet) height. The 
Amman shrine dedicated to Nilotpalambal is situated in the 
northern prakara facing south, its axis running between the 
inner gopuram and the Rajanarayana tirumandapam. It consists of 
a rectangular garbhagriha with an ardhamandapa and a mukhaman- 
dapa. All these edifices lie in the space within the second wall of 
enclosure. The gopuram in the east on this wall of enclosure is 
stocky and short with three storeys, with the griva and the sala- 
type sikhara crowned with nine kalasas. 

In the third prakara, there are two noteworthy monuments, 
both mandapas; one of them, the Devasrayan mandapam, is a hun- 
dred-pillared hall (though erroneously generally described as a 
thousand-pillared hall), covering an area of 64.01 ms (210') by 
42 .67 ms ( 1 40') . It has a low plinth, the height being only o. 76 m (two 
feet and a half) . This hall has original association with Sundarar’s 
Tiruttondat-togai. A modest structure, this was rebuilt in stone in 
the Later Chola period. The other is another big mandapam known 
as Nataraja mandapam at the rear of the temple-complex close 
to the outer western gopuram ; it stands on a high and massive 
basement of 1.83 ms (six feet) over the ground level. Close to the 
north-east corner of the third wall of enclosure is the chariot- 
temple depicting the Manu-niti Chola episode. It is a modern 
structure except for the basement, wheels and some of the pillars. 

The third wall of enclosure is dominated by four tall gopurams 
over the four openings ( tiru-vasal ) in it in the east, south, west 
and north. The gopuram in the east in the tallest and the largest 
of them all and measures 33.52 ms (no') by 18.29 ms (60') at 
the base and is 36.58 ms (120') tall. It is an elu-nilai (seven- 



276 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


storeyed) gopuram and has eleven kalasas over its Lfl/a-type sikhara. 
Like the Chidambaram gopurams, its gateway portion comprises 
two tiers. This gopuram is attributable to Kulottunga III. 

Of all these buildings which accrued over nearly six hundred 
years, the earliest is the Valmikinathar shrine, followed by the 
Thyagaraja shrine which, however, was re-built during the days 
of Rajendra I. Then comes the Achalesvarar shrine built during 
the days of Sembiyan Mahadevi and Rajaraja I. The two man- 
dap as of Devasrayan and Rajanarayanan also are noteworthy 
structures. 

We are here concerned only with the Thyagaraja shrine. 

Thyagaraja Shrine 

On the walls of this shrine there are seven inscriptions of 
Rajendra I covering a span of 17 years of his reign (from the 
third to his twentieth year) . In the third year record which begins 
with the short introduction irattaipadi elarai ilakkamum, the details 
of the quantity of gold which was used for plating and gilding 
the various parts of a golden pavilion are given (ponnin tiruman- 
dapam). From an eighth year record, we learn that a gift of a 
necklace of precious stones was made for the goddess, the 
consort of Udaiyar Vidi-Vitanka devar by Perumakkalur Udai- 
yan Veydan Seyyapadam of Gangaikondasolapuram. Two 
other records of the same year relate to provisions for feeding 
twelve Sivayogins in the temple and for making two gold ear-orna- 
ments to the god and for providing offerings and oil for the bath 
of the god and further gifts of gold for supplying clothes to the 
images and fees to temple singers and servants. Another incom- 
plete record of this king mentions a royal order to Velalakuttan 
alias Sembiyan Muvendavelan to cover with gold plates certain 
portions of the garbhagriha and the ardhamandapa of the temple 
(ARE 675 of 1919). The inscription, dated in the twentieth 
regnal year, gives a list of gifts made by the king and a noble 
lady Anukkiyar Paravai Nangaiyar for plating and gilding 
certain portions of the temple. It also includes a number of 
jewels and lamps given to the god Vidi-Vitanka-devar. There 
is a reference to a standard unit of weight for measuring gold 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA I’s TIME 277 

termed Rajarajan kasu-nirai-kal. What is of significance to us is 
that it also mentions that the temple of Thyagaraja was built of 
stone in the eighteenth regnal year of the king by Anukkiyar 
Paravai Nangaiyar. Besides, the inscription goes on to say that 
between the thirty-eighth and the 199th days of the eighteenth 
regnal year, the pious woman also made liberal endowments 
for gold-plating and gilding parts of the vimana, the entrance and 
the four sides of the shrine (ARE 680 of 1919 — “udaiyar vidivitanka 
devar koyilil koodattilum vaimadaiyilum nalu nasiyilum ul koottattilum ..”) . 
Mention is also made of the donation of copper for plating the 
doors, and the corbels of the pillars of the mandapa in front of the 
shrine. It further says that in his (the king’s) twentieth regnal 
year, the king accompanied by Anukkiyar Paravai Nangaiyar 
arrived at the temple by chariot and offered worship at the shrine. 
And it adds that a kuttu-vilakku ( a standing lamp) was donated 
to the shrine for being lighted at the same spot where the two 
stood and offered worship. In brief, therefore, between the 
sixteenth and the eighteenth years of Rajendra I the earlier brick 
structure was converted into a stone structure; and between 
the thirty-eighth and 199th days of the eighteenth year, the 
finishing touches were given to the shrine, including gilding and 
gold plating; and finally in the twentieth regnal year, the shrine 
was honoured with a visit by the king and Anukkiyar Paravai 
Nangaiyar. The inscription further says that all these gifts were 
not taken into the temple books and the temple treasury till the 
twentieth year of Rajendra I (a.d. 1032). 

The same lady raised a mandapa known as “ Rajendrachola- 
devari” and made provision for offerings to the images of 
Rajendra Chola and Paravai, according to a twenty-seventh 
year record of Rajadhiraja I (ARE 679 of 1919). Another record 
of the same king dated in his thirty-first year mentions that in 
compliance with the orders of the king, Venkatan Tirunila- 
kanthan alias Adhikari Irumudisola Muvendavelan utilised cer- 
tain gold and silver vessels in the temple treasury for the erection 
of a golden pavilion for the god Udaiyar Vidi-Vitanka devar 
of Tiruvarur. Among the inscriptions of Rajendra II, one is 
significant; in a royal order, the king directed Velala-kuttan 



278 MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 

alias Sembiyan Muvendavdan to cover with gold certain portions 
of the garb hagriha and the ardhamandapa of the adjoining Valmiki- 
nathar shrine. During the days of Kulottunga I there were two 
significant developments; on the south wall of the second prakara, 
which should have been built in the early years of Kulottunga I, 
we have two inscriptions; one (ARE 561 of 1904) mentions for 
the first time the Devasrayan mandapam (the so called thousand- 
pillared hall) ; as this inscription is dated in the forty-ninth year 
of the king, we may presume that the present structure of this hall 
was built during his time. From the other inscription (ARE 541 
of 1904) dated in his forty-fourth year, we come to know of the 
existence of a shrine for the Amman called Ulaguyyakonda- 
Kamakkottam. We may conclude that this Amman shrine was also 
a foundation of the days of Kulottunga I. Thus by the end of the 
reign of Kulottunga I, the campus of the temple had expanded 
considerably, and the buildings within the second wall of enclosure 
including the wall itself, the gopuram thereon and the Amman 
shrine had all come into existence. Covering the remaining rulers 
briefly, we observe that according to the Tribhuvanam inscrip- 
tions of Kulottunga III, the sabhapati-mandapa in the rear third 
prakara and also the massive eastern gopuram (the tallest of all) 
on the third wall of enclosure were built by him. A later Vijaya- 
nagara record dated in Saka 1362 (a.d. 1440) mentions that the 
western gopuram over the second prakara wall was built by Nagara- 
sar, son of Siddharaja for the merit of the Minister Lakkhana 
Dannayaka Udaiyar (ARE 566 and 567 of 1904). Finally during 
the Maratha king Sarfoji’s days certain repairs were made and 
a kumbhabhishekam performed on a date equivalent to kali 4818 
and Saka 1639 (a.d. 1717). 

Like the Valmikinathar shrine, its northern neighbour, 
this shrine faces east; it consists of a garbhagriha which measures 
5.47 ms (18') square; the ardhamandapa projects 6.10 ms (20') 
forward; the latter is almost a square; there is a mahamandapa 
in front which has an entrance in the southern side; this is reached 
by a flight of steps from the floor level of the prakara. Ahead of 
this is the mukhamandapa, which, as mentioned already, bestrides 
both this and the Valmikinathar shrine providing a common 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA I’s TIME 


279 


front; this hall measures 19.51 ms (64') by 18.29 ms (6o'). The 
two shrines have a common prakara and there is the tiruch-churru- 
maligai which runs the entire length of the rectangular wall of 
enclosure. It is double-storeyed and has a number of cells in the 
ground floor housing a variety of deities. On the southern side, 
there are two sets of icons of the 63 Tamil saints — one set in metal 
and the other in stone. In the south-west and the north-west 
corners, improvised cells have been provided for housing Gana- 
pati and Karttikeya respectively. In between are a set of bronzes. 
Among them are those of Nataraja and Chandrasekharar which 
are noteworthy. They are housed in a later mandapa merging 
with the peristyle (Pis 267 to 274). 

The garbhagriha has three devakoshtas in its outer faces, housing 
Dakshinamurti in the south, Vishnu in the west and Brahma 
in the north. The adhishthanam consists of the usual mouldings of 
padmam, kumudam, th tyali frieze and the varimanam* . 

BRAHMADESAM (S.A.) 

PATALISVARAR TEMPLE 65 

The temple of Patalisvarar is situated within the village of 
Brahmadesam, whereas the Brahmapurisvarar temple already 
dealt with under Rajaraja I’s temples is outside the village limits. 

The earliest inscription in this temple belongs to the twenty- 
fourth year, 230th day of Rajendra I. It relates to a gift of land 
for worship and offerings to this deity by one Parantakan Sut- 
tamalliyar alias Mukkokilanadigal for the success of the king’s 
arms ( bhujam vardhikka ). The inscription adds that at the time of 
the grant, the king was residing in the temple of Rajarajesvaram 
Udaiyar, perhaps the Brahmapurisvarar temple itself in the 
neighbourhood (ARE 188 of 1918). A gift of land was made in the 
twenty-ninth year, 342nd day during the reign of Rajadhiraja (I) 
(ARE 194 of 1918). The next is an inscription of the fourth 


*A good survey of Sri Thyagaraja temple, Tiruvarur by S. Ponnusamy is published by the 
Department of Archaeology, Tamil Nadu. 



28 o 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


year of Vira Rajendra which also refers to a gift of paddy (ARE 
195 of 1918). There are two inscriptions of Kulottunga Chola I; 
the first, of the seventh regnal year, mentions that a certain 
shepherd of Eydar (the old name for Esalam, a southern 
hamlet of Rajaraja chaturvedimangalam) received 32 cows 
and agreed to burn a perpetual lamp in the temple of Tirup- 
patalisvaram (ARE 190 of 1918). The other one of the eighteenth 
year is incomplete. During Vikrama Chola’s period there are 
two records relating to gifts to the temple (ARE 187 and 193 
of 1918). There is the usual donation by one Alagan, in the 
shape of 16 cows for a lamp in expiation of the sin of accidentally 
killing a friend in a hunting expedition. This inscription is dated 
in the thirteenth year of Kulottunga II (ARE 185 of 1918). 
The next one is a 14th year record of Parakesarivarman alias 
Rajaraja deva (II) which quotes a twenty-first year record of 
Kulottunga Chola deva (I or II?) and refers to a gift of land by 
the assembly for worship of the image of Aludai Nachchiyar 
set up in the temple, by one Irungolar on the day of the consecra- 
tion and the celebration of the marriage festival (ARE 192 of 
1918). There are two inscriptions of Kulottunga III belonging 
to his sixteenth and twenty-sixth years. The former is about 
a gift of two she-buffaloes, an ox and two calves for the purpose 
of burning a lamp in the temple of Patalisvaram Udaiya Nayanar 
by one Sengeni Mangalamittan Ammaiyappan Mittan Appan 
alias Cholendrasinga Sambuvarayan. The other is with regard 
to a gift of a gold diadem to Patalisvaram Udaiya Nayanar (at 
Rajaraja-chaturvedimangalam, a brahmadeyam and taniyur in Panai- 
yur nadu, a sub-division of Rajaraja valanadu), by a merchant of 
Ulogamadevipuram, a nagaram in Oyma nadu (ARE 189 and 
186 of 1918). The last of the inscriptions is one of Kampana 
Udaiyar, son of Vira Bukkana Udaiyar dated in Saka 1256 
(a.d. 1334). It mentions the remission of taxes by Goppanangal 
on the lands in Kulottungasola-nallur alias Brahmesvaram belong- 
ing to the temples of Brahmesvaram Udaiya Nayanar and Tirup- 
Patalisvaram Udaiya Nayanar of Rajaraja-chaturvedimangalam, 
a brahmadeyam and taniyur. 

The temple faces east. It is an eka-tala temple with a 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA I’s TIME 


28 l 


garbhagriha, an ardhamandapa, an antarala and a mukhamandapa. In 
addition, there is a detached hall in front of the temple which 
may belong to a later date. The garbhagriha, the ardhamandapa, the 
antarala, the adhishthanam and the walls are of stone but the griva 
and the sikhara portions are of brick — perhaps a later renovation. 
In the case of the mukhamandapa, only the adhishthanam is of stone, 
the walls and the entablature being of brick. There is no hara 
over the walls in the garbhagriha and like many other earlier 
structures, the superstructure starts off straightaway with the 
griva and the sikhara. There are four grivakoshtas which are now 
empty. 

Certain special features of this temple bring to mind the lay- 
out of the Rajarajesvaram at Tanjavur and the Gangaikonda- 
cholisvaram at Gangaikondasolapuram. We have already noticed 
that the main entrance to the sanctum sanctorum of these temples 
is not provided in the axis of the building but in the flanks ; thus 
there are two doorways reached by a flight of steps flanked by 
low and sinuous balustrades from the northern and the southern 
prakaras. The peculiar feature of the mukhamandapa is that it is 
in the form of a massive cross with the northern and the eastern 
sides completely walled up, while on the southern side there are 
two sets of steps from the sides leading up to the projecting portion 
of the hall. The ardhamandapa has six very finely carved pillars 
in the typical style of the Rajaraja-Rajendra period, massive, 
attractive and graceful. Between the ardhamandapa and the 
mukhamandapa, there is a small antarala into which the two gates 
from the sides open. On either side of the entrance to the ardha- 
mandapa, there are two Rajaraja-type dvarapalas. The detached 
structure in front of the mukhamandapa must have presented a 
graceful and fine facade to the entire temple, but now it is in 
ruins. There is a collapsed hall in the south-eastern corner of 
what was once the prakara of the temple; it might have served 
as a madam ( matha ) with a kitchen. The entire structure is in a 
state of utter disrepair. 



282 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


PANAYAVARAM 

NETRODDHARAKASVAMIN (PARAVAI ISVARAM 
66 UDAIYAR) TEMPLE 

The village of Panayavaram, which has rich historical 
association, lies in the belt of great temples on the ancient route 
from Vriddhachalam to Kanchipuram, covering centres like 
Esalam, Ennayiram, Brahmadesam, Emapperur and Dada- 
puram : it is to the north-west of Villupuram town. In this village 
there is a temple dedicated to Netroddharakasvamin. 

Among the inscriptions found on the walls of the central 
shrine of this temple, the earliest would appear to be one belonging 
to Parakesarivarman alias Udaiyar Sri Rajendra Chola deva I; 
it is found on the south, east and north walls of the shrine and 
the stones on which it is engraved are in disorder; undated, it 
seems to record a gift of land and money for worship and offerings, 
to the temple (ARE 317 of 1917). On the south wall, there is 
an undated inscription, whose king is also not known, which 
provides for offerings and lamps to Rajendrasola devar and 
Paravai nangaiyar, evidently metallic icons set up in the temple 
(ARE 320 of 1917). There are two dated inscriptions both 
belonging to the sixth regnal year of Rajendrasola deva; one of 
them, found on the south wall, begins with the introduction 
tirumagal maruviya and is therefore attributable to Rajendradeva II ; 
it mentions a gift of paddy for a lamp to the temple of Paravai 
Isvaram Udaiya Mahadevar, by a native of Tandalam in Jayan- 
gondasola mandalam (ARE 318 of 1917). Thus, for the first 
time, we get to have the name of the temple, which confirms 
the association of Paravai Nangai with it. On the same wall is 
the other inscription of the sixth year of Rajendra Chola deva, 
which bears close similarity to the characters of the earlier 
inscription of Rajendra II, referred to; thus attributable to 
the same king, it mentions a gift of paddy for the purpose of 
keeping a lamp burning in the temple, whose deity is again 
named Paravai Isvaram Udaiya Mahadevar, in the city of 
Paravaipuram in Puraiyur nadu, a sub-division of Panaiyur 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA i’s TIME 


283 


nadu in Rajendrasola valanadu (ARE 319 of 1917)*. 

There is a stray and fragmentary inscription on the south 
wall of the first prakara which provides for various requirements 
of the temple of Madurantaka Isvaram Udaiyar at Paravaipuram 
in Puraiyur nadu, a subdivision of Panaiyur nadu which was a 
district of Rajendrasola valanadu. This is immediately above a 
later inscription of the Vijayanagara period (ARE 327 of 1917). 
This inscription cannot be far removed in date from the others 
found on the walls of the central shrine and in all probability 
is attributable to the reign of Rajendradeva itself (Pis 275 to 
277). 

Here is mention made for the first time of the Madurantaka 
Isvaram Udaiyar temple; since this record is a fragment, it is 
not possible to ascertain to which temple the record originally 
belonged. Perhaps there was another temple, named after a 
surname of Rajendra Chola I. 

The remaining inscriptions are all found on the walls of the 
mandapa in front of the central shrine or on the prakara walls. 
One of them on the south wall of the mandapa provides for offerings 
and worship, reading of the Sivadharma, recitation of the Tirup- 
padiyam hymns and musical performances on the vinai in the 
temple (ARE 321 of 1917). 

An epigraph on the east wall of the same mandapa belongs to 
to the third year of Parakesarivarman alias Udaiyar Sri 
Adhirajendra deva and mentions a gift of land by purchase to 
the temple, by a native of Punganjeri in Milalai kurram , a district 
of Rajaraja Pandi Nadu (ARE 322 of 1917). 

A fragmentary record (ARE 323 of 1917) found on the same 
wall mentions the temples of Paravai-Isvaramudaiyar and 
Rajendrasola vinnagar Alvar; unfortunately neither the name of 
the king nor the year of the record is available from the frag- 
ments; however, it provides for maintaining a teacher in a free 
school ( dhanma-palli ) and for three water-sheds, one each in 
front of the two temples of Paravai Isvaram Udaiyar and 


*Ennayiram alias Rajaraja-chaturvedimangalam was a taniyur in Panaiyur nadu, a sub- 
division of Rajendrasola valanadu in Jayangondasola mandalam (Ennayiram: ARE 330 of 
I9I7)- 



284 MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 

Rajendrasola vinnagar and the third in front of the mandapa 
called “Rajendrasolan” ; provision was also made for the main- 
tenance of one who supervised the devadana, salabhoga and the 
temples. A feeding house was also attached to the temple, like 
the one at Ennayiram, though smaller in size; provision was 
made for conducting a hostel (salai) which fed daily 50 brah- 
manas and 10 Sivayogins who were also given oil for bathing (Also 
see Appendix under section on Ennayiram in Chapter 2) . 

For the first time, we come to hear of the temple (or shrine) 
of Rajendrasola vinnagar Alvar, in evident reference to a Vishnu 
temple named after Rajendra Chola I. This temple requires to 
be identified. 

On the south wall of the first prakara there is a much damaged 
fifth year inscription of Maravarman alias Vikrama Pandya deva 
which refers to the temple of Kannamanda Nayanar in Puravar 
Panangattur in Panaiyur (ARE 324 of 1917). On the same wall 
is another epigraph also belonging to Vikrama Pandya deva; 
dated in his sixth regnal year, it records a gift of offerings and 
other requirements to the same temple (ARE 325 of 1917). 

An inscription on the same wall belonging to Kampana 
Udaiyar, son of Bokkana Udaiyar, seems to record a gift of 
land; in it we get references to Puravur Panaingattur and 
Sembai in Vanagoppadi nadu on the northern banks of the 
Pennai (Pennar) (ARE 327 of 1917). 

The Amman shrine in the same temple complex belongs to 
a much later period. The Consort is called Satyambika. On the 
south wall of this shrine there is an inscription that belongs to 
Viruppana Udaiyar, son of Ariyana Udaiyar (Harihara II) 
dated in Saka 1312; it records a tax-free gift of the village of 
Kunralur in Koliyapuranallur-parru for worship, festivals and 
repairs to the temple of Udaiyar Kannamanda Nayanar at 
Tiruppuravur Panaingattur alias Paravaipuram in Poraiyur 
nadu, a sub-division of Panaiyur nadu which was a district of 
Rajaraja valanadu (ARE 328 of 1917). 

Panaiyavaram was the headquarters of the nadu of the same 
name; and Paravaipuram was perhaps a part of the township 
where the temple was situated; evidently the latter derived 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA l’s TIME 


285 


its name of Paravaipuram from Paravai Nanagaiyar, who was 
a great favourite of king Rajendra I (See section on Tiruvarur), 
The name of this Lady is reminiscent of Paravai Nachchiyar 
one of the two wives of the Tamil saint Sundaramurti Nayanar. 

KAVANTANDALAM 

CHOLISVARAM (RAJENDRASOLA- 
ISVARAMUDAIYA MAHADEVAR) 67 

Kavantandalam k a village in Kanchipuram taluk in Chingle- 
put district ; it is on the north bank of the river Cheyyar and is 
approached by a 5 km long road along the Cheyyar bank from a 
point about 19 kms south of Kanchipuram on the Kanchipuram- 
Uttaramerur road. The ancient town of Magaral is on the way. 

There are two temples in this village, one dedicated to Vishnu 
and the other to Siva. 

( 1 ) Laks hmina rayana Perumal temple 

Much older than Cholisvaram, this temple, dedicated to 
Vishnu, was built by Manasarpan of Kunnoor in Vengai nadu 
and completed in the fourteenth year of the king Kampavarman 
as known from an inscription (ARE 207 of 1901), on the south 
wall of the central shrine of this temple; in this inscription, the 
Sabha of the Chaturvedimangalam records that it sold for gold 
two pattis of land and a flower-garden to the same Manasarpan 
who erected the temple; the deity of the temple is called Vishnu- 
grihattu-perumanadigal. From another record, also found on the 
south wall and dated in the eighteenth year of Kampavarman, 
we learn of the provision made for the annual celebration of the 
Chittirai Tiruvonam festival for the Perumanadigal of the Manasarpa 
Vishnugriham in the Chaturvedimangalam, in Damanur nadu 
in Urrukkattuk-kottam (ARE 208 of 1901 & SII, VII, 421). 
The building of the temple by Manasarpan is formally recorded 
in a Grantha inscription found on the west wall of the central 
shrine (ARE 209 of 1901). This temple is thus a foundation of 
the days of the Pallava king Kampavarman and a dated one. 



286 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


(2) Cholisvaram 

A reference to this temple is made in an inscription found 
on the north and west walls of the Lakshminarayana temple. 
Immediately after the Sanskrit introduction in the prasasti, the 
Tamil portion reads as follows: 

“ Kopparakesari varmarana sri Rajendra sola devarkku yandu 
\-vadu...Jayangondasola mandalattu Urrukkattuk-kottattut Tamanoor 
nattuk Kaaivantandalamana Chalurvedimangalattu sabhaiyom ir- 
rainal pagal emmur brahmasthnattey kuttak-kuraivara kudi irundu 
ivvandu innaduvagaiseykinra Vaidoor udaiyan vallan Gandan Pich- 
chan sri Rajendra solan ennum tiru nammattal eduppitta sri Rajendra 
sola isvaram udaiya mahadevarkku sabhaiyom irai-ili devadanamaga 
vaitta nilangalil ..." 

After this the inscription proceeds to indicate the allocation 
of these lands to the Sivabrahmanas doing the tiru aradhanai 
(workship) and the cook (maani) who does the paricharakam 
and then lays down the break-up of the rice for the morning, 
noon and other services for the Udaiyar. The record further 
deals in detail with the provisions made for rice, vegetables, 
curds, arecanuts and others and also for bathing of the deity 
during certain festivals like the Uttarayanam, Dakshinayanam, 
Aippasi-visu, Chittirai-visu and so on. The provision included 
gold gifts. The record is incomplete (ARE 210 of 1901). 

From this record we come to know that the temple of Cholis- 
varam was a foundation of the days of Rajendra I and should 
have come into existence immediately before the fourth year 
of his reign. There are a number of records on the walls of the 
central shrine of this temple (ARE 203, 204, 204- A, 205 of 1901). 
An inscription dated in the sixth year of Vikrama Chola deva 
refers to a gift of six kasus of money by the mahasabhai of the 
brahmadeyam, viz-, Kaaivaan-tandalam alias Chaturvedimanga- 
lam (ARE 205 of 1901). The record mentions a gift of land for 
food offerings, archanai and maintenance. There are two more 
records of Vikrama Chola’s period; one of his fifth year (ARE 
204 of 1901) refers to a gift of land by a lady, Punkamala selvi, 
the wife of Devan alias Kuruchcha Udaiyan of Kiliyur nadu in 
Chola mandalam ; here the name of the deity is partially damaged ; 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA I*S TIME 287 

we however get the portion .durai al-udaiyar” in the brahma- 
deyam of Kavantandalam in Damanur nadu in Urrukkattuk- 
kottam in Jayangondasola mandalam; and the other of his 
fifth and sixth years (ARE 2 04- A of 1901) records an order of 
the Sabha accepting money on behalf of the Sivabrahmanas of the 
temple from three ladies, Punkamala Selvi, her sister Pillai 
Nangai, and Tiruvarangasani, for burning three sandhi lamps 
(twilight lamps). We get the full name of the deity in this in- 
scription, viz- 3 brahmadeyam Kaaivaan-tandalattu-Tiruvaraichchandurai 
Aludaiyar. 

A record of Kulottunga Chola deva III relating to his twenty- 
sixth year calls the village Sri-karana-chaturvedimangalam, 
the other administrative divisions being the same as in the days 
of Vikrama Chola. This refers to a gift of land made to the temple 
and entrusted for management to the Sabha of the village by some 
donees including one Tiruvalanjuli Udaiyan, the karanan of 
Kavantandalam, and two brothers Isanadevan and Periya 
Pillai, both kaikolars of Irukkundar-koyil of Tirupputtur in 
Chola mandalam. 

The temple faces east. It has a garbhagriha, an antarala and a 
mukhamandapa. To the north of the mukhamandapa is the cella 
containing the Amman, who is known by the name of Sundaram- 
bal. The walls of the garbhagriha are rectangular, while the super- 
structure above the prastara including the griva and the sikhara 
is in the apsidal form. The devakoshta figures are Ganapati and 
Dakshinamurti in the south, Vishnu in the west and Brahma 
and Durga in the north. The temple has undergone radical 
change in structure during some distant renovation. 

This is a dated temple relating to the fourth year of 
Rajendra I (i.e., a.d. 1016). 


KUVAM 

TRIPURANTAKESVARAM 68 

(TIRUVIRTKOLAM) 


Kuvam, a small village in the Tiruvallur taluk of Chingleput 



288 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


district, is reached by proceeding 34 kms on the Madras-Sri- 
perumbudur road and branching off to a district road to the right 
on which 22 kms are traversed before reaching a bifurcation, 
one road to the right going to Perumbakkam and the other to 
the left going to Kuvam, a distance of 1 km from the junction. 
The village is on the Chingleput-North Arcot district border. 
It is situated not far from the famous Vaishnavite centre of 
Sriperumbudur, associated with Acharya Ramanuja and the 
the celebrated Saivite centre of Takkolam, where is situated the 
temple of Tiruvural Mahadevar. Kuvam was called Kuham in 
ancient days, and the Siva temple, now known as the Tripuran- 
takesvaram, was called the temple of Tiruvirtkolam Udaiya 
Nayanar. The deity of Tripurantakar holds a bow in his hand 
poised to destroy the Tripura asuras. 

Sambandar (seventh century a.d.) has a decad of verses on 
the Lord of Tiruvirtkolam installed at Kuham. The deity of 
Tiruvirtkolam is variously described, as the Lord combined with 
Uma in one person (Ardhanarisvarar) , one who with one arrow 
destroyed the Tripura asuras, one whose throat is black with poison, 
one who overthrew Yama (Kalan), one who founded the Vedas, 
the Vedangas and the Agamas, one who wore the Ganga and the 
crescent on his spread-out locks of hair, one who humbled the 
Lord of Lanka (Ravana) and one who defied the search of Brahma 
and Vishnu and thereby established his supremacy over them. 

The earliest epigraph found in this temple is inscribed on 
the north and west walls of the central shrine (ARE 328 of 1909) ; 
it begins with the historical introduction of Tiru-madar-puviyenum 
and relates to the fifth regnal year of Parakesari Rajendra Chola 
deva (II) (a.d. 1057). It registers the sale of land for 160 kasus 
by the assembly of Kottur alias Chola-vidyadhara-chaturvedi- 
mangalam in Manavil kottam of Jayangondasola mandalam. The 
land was meant to dig a feeder channel to Tribhuvana Madevip- 
per-peri at Kuvam alias Madurantaka-nallur. Madhurantaka was 
a title of Rajendra I and Tribhuvana Ma(ha)devi was one of his 
queens. Hence it seems reasonable to assume that the present 
temple built of stone might have come into existence even during 
the period of Rajendra I. 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA l’s TIME 


289 


The next inscription of the Middle Chola period is one of the 
second regnal year of Udaiyar Vira Rajendra deva (a.d. 1065). 
It concerns a sale of certain lands in four villages to a person who 
later made a gift of them to this temple in the twentieth year of 
Kulottunga I (ARE 338 of 1909). It is stated that in respect of 
these lands each of the four adjoining assemblies claimed them 
as their own. They met together to resolve this tangle and decided 
that the disputed land should be made over to the temple of 
Tiruvirtkolam Udaiyar at Madurantakanallur (Kuvam). At this 
stage, a certain Akkalibhattan, a devotee of the temple, came 
forward to purchase the land on condition that the residents of 
the four villages agreed to fixing the boundaries of the lands. 
This was done, Akkalibhattan bought the lands and presen- 
ted them to the temple in the twentieth regnal year of 
Kulottunga I. 

An inscription (ARE 345 of 1909) of the third regnal year 
of Tribhuvana chakravartin to be identified with Kulottunga I 
concerns a gift of money for a lamp by a native of Tiruvilimilalai. 
Another inscription of this king dated in his fifteenth year refers 
to a gift of 20 kasns for a lamp by a native of Palaiyanur near 
Tiruvalangadu in Tondai Nadu (ARE 336 of 1909). An inscrip- 
tion, in prose and verse, on the west wall of the central shrine, 
relating to his forty-second year, refers to a gift of paddy and 
fishing rights ( min-pattam ) for repairs and maintenance of the 
Tribhuvana-madevip-^r-m at Kuvam alias Madurantakanallur 
(ARE 326 of 1909). An inscription of his forty-eighth year found 
on the north wall of the central shrine mentions a gift of land 
for offerings to the deity of Vrishabhavahana devar in the temple 
(ARE 330 of 1909). 

In the days of Vikrama Chola, Kuvam {alias Maduran- 
takanallur) was renamed Tyagasamudra-nallur, after a surname 
of this ruler. This new name is found in an inscription of the 
eighth year of Kulottungasola deva II, which records a gift of 
money for a lamp to Tiruvirtkolam Udaiyar (ARE 329 of 1909). 

This region was ruled temporarily by Vijaya Gandagopala 
deva but was soon conquered by the Pandyas (ARE 322 of 1909). 
There is a gift for a festival called Kulasekhara-^n^i in the 



290 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


twenty-seventh regnal year of a Tribhuvanachakravartin Konerin- 
maikondan (a.d. 1295), who is to be identified with Maravarman 
Kulasekhara (a.d. 1268 to 1308). 

There are two inscriptions of the Vijayanagara rulers. One 
of these, relating to the time of Venkatapati Raya of Anegundi, 
mentions a gift of land in Tribhuvanamadevi mangalam (a part 
of Kuvam) evidently to the local temple (ARE 327 of 1909). 
The other one, dated in Saka 1532 (a.d. 1610), provides for 
special worship in the month of Margali (December) to Tiruvirt- 
kolisvarar by Mahamandalesvara Goppuni Obaraya deva 
Maharaya (ARE 332 of 1909). 

This region passed into the hands of the Sultan of Golkonda 
shortly thereafter; a certain person is said to have planted a grove 
of trees at Kuvam for the merit of Timmappa Nayudu and 
presented it to the local temple. Another gift of a grove for main- 
taining a lamp to be burnt before Tripurantakasvamin was 
made in a.d. 1855. 

This temple was perhaps a brick structure in the seventh 
century A.D. (the days of Sambandar). The earliest inscription 
in the newly-built stone temple belongs to the period of Rajendra- 
deva II, but its construction might have been begun even in the 
days of his father, Rajendra I. 

The original temple of Rajendra I’s period seems to have 
consisted of the garbhagriha (6.69 ms across the axis and 8.36 ms 
along its length) and the ardhamandapa. The mukhamandapa is 
of a later age. The garbhagriha is square, and the part of the 
vimana over it is apsidal. In this respect, it resembles the Pallava 
temple of Virattanesvarar at Tiruttani. It has three talas like 
the Adipurisvarar temple at Tiruvorriyur, which was built in the 
days of Rajendra I. The adhishthanam, no cms high, is adorned 
with many mouldings (Pis 278 to 282). 

The devakoshta sculptures are Ganapati and Dakshinamurti 
in the south, Lingodbhavar in the rear and Brahma and Durga 
in the north. 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA I’s TIME 2gi 

AGARAM (CH.) 

KAILAS ANATHAR TEMPLE 69 

Agaram, a village in the Chingleput taluk of the same district, 
is 42 kms from Madras city from where it is reached by proceeding 
on the coastal road to Kelambakkam and Tirupporur, from 
where a district road proceeding in a south-westerly direction 
is taken to reach Manamadi; Agaram is closeby, having in fact 
had Manamadi as a part of the larger town of Agaram in the 
Chola days. 

In Agaram and Manamadi there are the following temples: 

1) Kailasanathar temple, Agaram; 

2) Sri Tirukkarisvarar temple, Manamadi, and 

3) Vaikuntha perumal temple, Manamadi. 

Agaram was a thriving locality during the days of the Middle 
Cholas and was known as Vanavan Mahadevi chaturvedimanga- 
lam. It was situated in Kumili nadu, a subdivision of Amur 
kottam in Jayangondasola mandalam. Manamadi was part of 
this chaturvedimangalam. 

From an inscription dated in the eighth regnal year of 
Rajendra I found on the south wall of the mandapa in front of the 
central shrine of the Siva temple at Agaram called presently 
Kailasanathar temple, we gather that the king founded the village 
of Vanamangai and settled in it four thousand brahmanas. The 
king is variously described as Sengol-valavan, the king who estab- 
lished just rule, Ponni-nadan, the ruler of the Kaveri basin, 
Pumpuhar-talaivan, the Lord of the celebrated sea-port of 
Pumpuhar alias Kaverip-pum-pattinam and the Supreme power 
who established the Chola tiger crest on Mount Meru (the 
Himalayas). In the same inscription, there is a reference to god 
Adirai-Vitankar, evidently a processional deity taken out during 
the Tiruvadirai festival and to the quarter named Adirai-vilagam, 
attached to the temple (ARE 232 of 1930-31). Another inscription 
found on the same wall also belongs to the reign of Rajendra I 
and contains a Tamil verse on the king; it mentions the 
completion of the stone temple of Tirukayilayar (Tirukkailasar) 



292 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


at Vanavan Mahadevi by a king’s subordinate named Dippat- 
taraiyan (ARE 231 of 1930-31). An inscription of the 40th 
year of Kulottunga I (a.d. mo) records a gift of land by 
purchase from the assembly of Vanavan Mahadevi chaturvedi- 
mangalam in Kumili nadu, a sub-division of Amur kottam, 
a district of Jayangondasola mandalam by a resident of Kalani- 
vayil in Tiruvalundur nadu, a sub-division of Rajaraja valanadu, 
in Chola mandalam (ARE 233 of 1930-31). In an inscription 
dated in Kali 4,500 (a mistake for 4,503) is mentioned a gift of 
land for repairs to the temple of Kailasanathar which is described 
as being situated at Kailasamulai-agaram. Hence the modern 
name of Agaram for the village (ARE 234 of 1930-31). This 
new name is also confirmed by a Vijayanagara inscription dated 
in Saka 1569 (a.d. 1647) which records the gift of the village 
of Kailasamulai alias Agaram in Panaimulai sirmai in Tiruk- 
kalukkunrap-parru, to the temple of Kandasvamin at Seyyur 
(ARE 236 of 1930-31, found on a slab set up in the village). 

Thus, on the basis of the inscriptional material available, 
we come to know that in the eighth year of Rajendra I, a colony 
of 4,000 Vedic scholars was established in this village and its 
neighbourhood, which was named Vanavan Mahadevi agaram 
or chaturvedimangalam, after the name of the king’s mother, 
and that a structural stone temple, called that of Kailasamudai- 
yar, was built here. 

The temple faces east and consists of a square ardhamandapa, 
having a central bhadra projection on each of the three sides, a 
pillared ardhamandapa and a mukhamandapa. Externally, the 
garbhagriha measures 6.44 ms along the axis of the temple by 
6.55 ms across and the ardhamandapa projects 6.20 ms forward. 
The mukhamandapa measures 11.40 ms by 10.60 ms. The garbha- 
griha evidently stands on a high upapitham, which however is now 
submerged in the ground; the adhishthanam measures 1.46 ms 
above the upapitham, and consists of the padmam, jagati, tri-patta 
kumudam and the kandam on top. 

Over the garbhagriha there is no superstructure but obviously, 
on the basis of the massiveness of the garbhagriha that now sur- 
vives and the size of the adhishthanam and its height, the super- 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA i’s TIME 293 

structure including the entablature should have been a grand 
one, worthy of the temples built by Rajendra I. 

In the niche on each of the three sides of the garbhagriha are 
the usual devakoshtas, Vishnu in the rear and Dakshinamurti and 
Brahma in the south and north; perhaps replacements over the 
walls of the ardhamandapa are the icons of Durga in the north 
and Ganesa in the south. 

This glorious foundation of Rajendra I is now bereft of all 
its glory. 


TIRUPPASUR 

VACHISVARAM (TIRUP-PASUR UDAIYAR) 

TEMPLE 70 

Tiruppasur lies about 48 kms north-west of the city of Madras 
and about 6.50 kms north of Kadambattur railway station. This 
centre has an ancient temple dedicated to Siva dating back 
to the days of Appar and Sambandar. According to local 
tradition, the Lord of this temple emanated from a clump of 
bamboos ( pasu ), and the temple came up later at the site. The 
tradition goes on to say that a local Kurumba Chief, inimically 
disposed towards Karikala, the famous Chola king of the Sangam 
age, sent him a pot with a coiled snake hidden in it, at the 
prompting of the Jainas. Siva, Lord of Pasur, intercepted the evil 
pot and rendered the snake innocuous, thus saving his devotee. 

Appar has two hymns on the Lord of this temple. In his 
Tiruppasur Tiruttandagam, the Lord is called the Divine Light 
of Pasur ( Pasur meviya param sudar), Ardhanarisvarar ( padiyor - 
madinan), the embodiment of the five elements, the Divine 
Dancer, one who subdued the hooded snake, the poison-throated, 
one who fought with Arjuna (Vijaya) in a hunter’s disguise 
(Pasupata astra episode), one who danced with Kali, one versed 
in the Vedas and the Vedangas, one who helped Kochchenganan 
(the Chola king reputed to have been a spider-devotee of the 
Lord of Tiruvanaikka in his previous birth), an adept in the 
Panduranga dance, one who defied the search high and low of 



294 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


Brahma and Vishnu (Lingodbhavar), one who speared Andha- 
kasura to death, one who spurned with his feet and destroyed 
Kala to save His devotee (Markandeya) , one who crushed with 
his toe the ten-headed Ravana who attempted to lift Mount 
Kailasa and who gained the Lord’s grace only after chanting 
the Sama Veda. In his Tiruppasur Tirukkuruntogai , Appar has 
described the Lord as one who destroyed the castles of the Tri- 
pura asuras, Ardhanarisvarar, the destroyer of Kala (Yama), 
one who danced with the snake in his hand, one who begged 
for his food with a skull (Brahma’s) in his hand, one who was 
inaccessible to Brahma and Vishnu (Lingodbhavar), one who 
sat under the banyan tree and discoursed on dharma (as Dakshi- 
namurti), and the subduer of Ravana’s pride.* 

In his hymns, Sambandar calls the deity Pasurnathar, and 
describes the temple as surrounded by groves with ponds and 
fields, and with cuckoos cooing and honey-bees humming sweet 
hymns. Pasur is described as full of tall mansions reaching up 
to the very moon.** 

In their age (seventh century a.d.), the temple would have 
been either a structure of brick or a misra temple of brick and 
stone. Like the Adipurisvarar temple at Tiruvorriyur, this is 
a temple in the Tondaimandalam region which was reconstructed 
of stone in the days of Rajendra I. 

The main shrine has a square garbhagriha and an apsidal 
sikhara , resembling in this the Pallava temple of Virattanesvarar 
at Tiruttani (Early Chola Temples, pp.343 —4) and the Tripuranta- 
kesvaram at Kuvam discussed in a preceding section. 

Most of the inscriptionsf found on the walls of the main 
shrine belong to the days of Kulottunga I ; but some belong to 
the final days of the Middle Chola period. The earliest inscriptions 
in the temple are of the days of Rajaraja I. On a broken slab 
lying near the entrance to the hundred-pillared mandapa in the 
temple is an inscription of his twelfth year, which refers to the 


♦Vide p.471 and p.203 of Tirunavukkarasu Devaram, Saiva Siddhanta Samajam edition. 
♦•Vide p.649 of Sambandar Desaram, same edition. 

tlnscriptions, ARE 107 to 133 of 1929-30, are found on the walk of the main shrine, and 
134 to 150 on the walls of the mandapa in front of it. 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA l’s TIME 


295 


receipt of some money by the sab ha of Nallarrur in Kilsengai 
nadu, a subdivision of Sengattu kottam, from the Tiruppasur 
temple (ARE 156 of 1929—30). There is another record of his 
days on a slab built into the floor of the west verandah in the 
first prakara of the temple, dated in his twenty-ninth year. It 
registers a sale of land made tax-free by the uravar of Serumani 
Karanai to a certain . . . sola sundarar (ARE 151 of 1929-30). 

Evidently, the earlier structure of the temple, as it existed in 
the days of Rajaraja I, was replaced after his twenty-ninth regnal 
year — most probably in the reign of Rajendra I. The earliest 
Chola record on the main shrine is on its north wall and belongs 
to the third year of Adhirajendra deva; it states that, while the 
king was seated in the palace, Gangaikondasolan maligai, at 
Gangaikondasolapuram, he remitted certain taxes leviable on the 
village of Selai in Kakkalur nadu , a sub-division of Ikkattu 
kottam, in Jayangondasola mandalam, as a devadana in favour of 
the temple of Vey Idangondarulina Mahadevar (the Lord residing 
amidst bamboo clumps) at Tiruppasur. (In an inscription of 
Tribhuvanachakravartin Rajendra (III? : ARE 127 of 1929—30), 
the Lord of the temple is called Purridam-kondar: Resident of 
an ant-hill). The above remission seems to have been made at 
the request of an officer called Araiyan Rajarajan alias Pandyan 
for the conduct of certain services ( dharmam ) instituted by his 
mother Rajasekharan Ramadevi in the temple. Mention is 
also made of the names of several officers including those of the 
Udan-kuttam (ARE 113 of 1929—30). 

The Central Shrine 

The main shrine of the temple faces east, and consists of a 
garbhagriha, an antarala and a mukhamandapa, conceived in a grand 
fashion as one unitary composition. The garbhagriha measures 
(9.66 ms) 31' 8" long and (7.92 ms) 26' wide. The antarala 
projects forward by (3.35 ms) 10' 1 " and is (7.54 ms) 24' 9" 
wide. The mukhamandapa measures (7.77 ms) 25' 6" along the 
axis of the temple and (8.83 ms) 29' in width; the internal mea- 
surements are (6.40 ms) 21' 1" by (7.09 ms) 23' 3". Inside, the 
garbhagriha is a square. At the entrance from the antarala to 



296 MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 

the garbhagriha as well as at the entrance from the mukhamandapa 
to the antarala , there are flanking pilasters, (empty) niches for 
dvarapalas and a bkutagana frieze above. The mukhamandapa is 
supported by twelve round pillars, four each in three north-south 
rows. 

The dvi-tala srivimana is massive and tall and in a good state 
of preservation. The walls of the garbhagriha are high, measuring 
4.48 ms (14' 8") from the ground level to the top of the cornice, the 
adhishthanam itself measuring 1.07 ms (3' 6"). The garbhagriha is 
one-tiered. The griva and sikhara are in brick and mortar and apsidal- 
shaped ; the sikhara is crowned by five stupis and its front face has the 
usual kirtimukha motif; the rest of the srivimana is entirely of stone, 
except for some stucco work in the upper tala. In addition to the 
fine set of stone sculptures in the niches of the garbhagriha 
and antarala, there are beautifully carved stone sculptures covered 
with stucco or figures wholly of stucco in the haras and griva. 
We list them below (in clockwise order) : 

Sculptures on the walls of the garbhagriha and antarala are: 

South : Ganapati, Dakshinamurti (later) 

West: Lingodbhavar 

North: Brahma, Durga 

The hara over the first tala has two rows of sculptures. 

Row I: 

South : (1) Ardhanari; (2) Brahma; (3) Dakshinamurti; 
(4) Vishnu; (5) Sankaranarayana. 

West: (1) Vrishabhantikar; (2) Vishnu; (3) Vishnu, seated 
on a serpent with its five-headed hood over His head ( Adinatha ). 

North: (1) Kalantakar; (2) Sankaranarayana, standing; 
(3) Brahma, standing; (4) Bhairavar; (5) Chandrasekharar. 

East: (1) Bhairavar; (2) Subrahmanyar ; (3) A seated figure, 
unidentified. 

Row II: 

South: (1) Ganapati; (2) This nidha is vacant, but in a small 
niche to its left is a Kali figure, and a small niche to it right is 
empty; (3) Siva, seated, four-armed, with two attendants, one 
on either side; (4) Vyakhyana Dakshinamurti; (5) Siva, seated 
flanked by attendants on the left and by a devotee on the right; 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA i’S TIME 297 

(6) A standing female figure, not identified, with an attendant 
rishi ; (7) Unidentified. 

West: (1) A male figure with uplifted arms (not identified) ; 

(2) Two unidentified figures, perhaps images of benefactors; 

(3) Yoga Narasimha; (4) Govardhanagiri-dhari ; (5) Lakshmi- 
narayana (There is a Bhuvaraha image between the figures 
of Yoga Narasimha and Govardhanadhari) . 

North: (1) A saint; (2) A saint, standing; (3) An unidentified 
deity; (4) Brahma, standing; (5) A saint; (6) Durga, standing; 

(7) Mahesvari, seated, with a linga to the left. 

East: (1) Surya (?) with lotuses in both hands; (2) Kartti- 
keya; (3) Indra on elephant, and devotees; (4) Devotees; 
(5) A two-armed, seated figure, not identified. 

Sculptures in the niches of the second tala are: 

South: (1) Siva, with sula and damaru in two hands, the 
other two arms being in the abhaya and kati-avalambita poses; 

(2) Siva, seated, with parasu and mriga in two hands, the other 
two being broken; (3) Dakshinamurti, standing; (4) A standing 
four-armed figure, unidentified : weapons in and postures of arms 
not discernible; (5) Siva, standing, with parasu and mriga in two 
hands, the other two arms being in the abhaya and varada poses. 

West: (1) Dikpala (?); (2) Vishnu, standing; (3) Kaliya 
Krishna. 

North: (1) Dikpala; (2) Chandrasekharar (Siva, standing); 

(3) Brahma, standing; (4) Siva (Bhairavar?) standing, with 
sula and damaru in two hands, the other two being in the abhaya 
and katihasta (?) poses; (5) Isana. 

East: (1) Surya, two-armed, holding lotuses; (2) Subrah- 
manyar, standing, holding akshamala and kundikai ; (3) Chandra. 

Sculptures in the grivakoshtas: There are three niches each 
in the northern, western (rear, apsidal) and southern faces of 
the griva and one in the front face. The sculptures in them are 
as follows (listed as usual in the clockwise sense) : 

South: (1) Vrishabhantikar, standing, with Parvati to the 
right and a sage to the left; (2) Vyakhyana Dakshinamurti; 
(3) Alingina Chandrasekharar. Between Nos. (2) and (3) there 
is a seated, two-armed figure of Siva (?). 



298 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


West: (1) A seated saint, with a ‘ pandaram ’ type of turban; 
(2) Vishnu, seated, with two denis; (3) A standing figure of a 
saint. 

North : (1) Bhikshatanar (arms broken) with the rishipatnis; 
(2) Brahma, beardless, seated in padmasana, with akshamala 
and kundika in two hands, the other arms being in the abhaya 
and varada poses, and flanked by his consorts, Savitri and Saras- 
vati: we recall a similar sculpture in the great temple at Gan- 
gaikondasolapuram; (3) An excellent figure of Mahishasura- 
mardini, eight-armed, the lion shown tearing into the flesh of 
the buffalo-demon. Between Nos. (2) and (3), there is a beauti- 
ful female figure, unidentified. 

East: In the only niche here, there is a fine seated figure 
of Uma Mahesvarar, flanked by dvarapalas. Mahesvarar holds 
the parasu and the mriga in two hands, while the other two are 
in the abhaya and varada poses. Uma holds a lotus in one hand 
and the other rests on the pedestal; the left leg hangs down, 
while the right leg is folded and tucked underneath the left leg 
over the pedestal. 

The garbhagriha and the two tiers above it are certainly 
original, and even the grin a and the sikhara would appear to be 
original, excepting that the surface of the sikhara might have 
been plastered over later (Colour PI 17, and Pis 283 to 299). 

In front of the mukhamandapa , there are two fine specimens 
of dvarapalas in the Rajaraja I style, one on either side of the 
entrance; they are massive, powerful of limb, almost fierce of 
mein and well-proportioned. 

Amman Shrine : 

To the south of the Siva temple and almost identical with 
it in size is the Amman shrine, of a later date and dedicated 
to Svayam Mohanambika. From the architectural and sculp- 
tural features we could attribute this temple to the period of 
Kulottunga I. 

Both the Siva and Amman temples are encompassed within 
a common wall of enclosure, on the southern wing of which is 
the main gopuram providing access to both the temples. 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA i’s TIME 


299 


A common hall put up later links the front portions of the 
Siva and Amman temples; there is a mandapa at the northern 
end of this hall in which are housed some good and some indiffer- 
ent bronzes; of them, the Somaskandar and Tani Amman 
images are worthy of note, the former having probably been 
the utsava murti. 

Embedded in the floor of the sopana mandapa in front of the 
main shrine is a stray stone containing a royal edict with the 
Chola royal crest, similar to what we find in their copper plate 
grants. 

The present structure is a temple of the days of Rajendra I 
and is a fine specimen of this period in the Tondaimandalam 
idiom. The hundred-pillared hall in the temple may be attributed 
to Naralokaviran (the General under Kulottunga I and Vikrama 
Chola), who also constructed similar halls at Chidambaram 
and Tiruvadigai (near Cuddalore). The Amman shrine may be 
attributed to the period of Kulottunga I. The wall of enclosure 
in the outermost prakara along with the gopuram was built in the 
days of Kulottunga III. 


TIRUV ORRIYUR 

ADIPURISVARAR TEMPLE 71 

Tiruvorriyur, which is about 18 kms from Madras, is an 
ancient town, whose annals can be gleaned from the large number 
of inscriptions found on the walls of the temple here dedicated 
to Adipurisvarar. It dates back to the days of Sambandar and 
Sundarar. The former saint has sung the praises of the Lord of 
Orriyur in eleven verses. The latter has sung a padigam in anguish 
when he discovered that he was losing his eyesight — the punish- 
ment he received for forgetting his promise to his wife Sangiliyar 
that he would never leave her. Tradition has it that when he 
was engrossed in the pleasures of married life, he was suddenly 
put in mind of the fact that he had not had the darsana of Vithi- 
Vitanka Peruman of Tiruvarur for a long time; forgetting his 
promise to his wife, he set off from Tiruvorriyur for Tiruvarur; 



300 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


he had hardly left the outskirts of the town when he began to 
lose his sight. 

This temple has grown in size over the centuries; by the end 
of the fourteenth century, there were as many as five shrines, 
five mathas and five mandapams in the campus, namely, the 

Adipurisvarar (the main), Nataraja, Chamunda, Gaulisar 
and Subrahmanyar shrines; 

Rajendrasolan, Kulottungasolan, Tirujnana Sambandar, Nan- 
dikesvarar and Angarayan mathas; and 

Rajarajan, Rajendrasolan, Vyakarana-dana, Mannaikonda 
solan, and Vakkanikkum mandapams. 

The early history of the temple has been traced in my Early 
Chola Temples (pp. 97—99). 

There are as many as 149 inscriptions recorded on the walls 
of the central shrine, on the mandapa in front of it, on the pillars 
of the tiruch-churru-maligai, and on the walls of the sub-shrines, 
the prakara and the gopuram. 

As noted in Early Chola Temples, the central shrine was built 
in the days of Rajendra I at the bidding of the Saivite religious 
leader Chaturanana Pandita by the architect Ravi alias Virasola 
Takshan, “of black granite without the least flaw, in three tiers 
decorated with char anas, tor anas, kutas, nidhas (big and small), 
simhamukhas and makaras ” (ARE 126 of 1912: SII, IV, 553). 
This record is in Grantha, undated, and is found on the southern 
side of the central shrine. The king appears to have held in great 
respect this guru Chaturanana Pandita, who was his contempo- 
rary in the line of succession of Niranjana Guravar (who flourished 
in about the ninth century a.d.). 

In the records of the temple, there is reference to the following 
(twelve) deities in the temple campus : 

Karanai Vitanka devar, Padampakka devar, Vattapirai 
Amman (Pidariyar), Kshetrapala devar, Pillai Subrahman- 
yar (Kumarasvami devar), Surya, Arinjisvaram Udaiyar, 
Kampisvaram Udaiyar, Videlvidugu Isvarar, Durgaiyar, 
Anukka Pillaiyar, and Vira Narasimhesvaram Udaiya 
Nayanar. 

A laige number of gifts and donations were made to the temple 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA i’s TIME 


301 


and its adjuncts during the reign of Rajendra I. Chaturana Pandita 
himself made a gift of 150 kasus for conducting the ceremonial 
bathing of Mahadevar with ghee on the festival day coinciding 
with the birthday of the king — the nakshatra (star) of Tiruvadirai 
in the month of Margali (ARE 104 of 1912). A gift of 90 sheep 
for a lamp was made by Gangaikondasolan alias Uttamasola- 
marayan of Tiruvarur for the merit of one Ganavadi Idumban, 
who stabbed himself to death in order to relieve the distress of 
the donor (ARE 138 of 1912): this record also covers another 
gift of 90 sheep for a lamp, by one Nimbala devi, wife of Indala 
deva of Talaigrama in Virata desa (country round Hangal, itself 
called Viratanagari or Viratankote in inscriptions). One Nakkan 
Kodai alias Kanchipura Nangai, a magal (maid-servant?) of 
Tiruvegambam Udaiya Mahadevar of the nagaram of Kanchi- 
puram, deposited a gift of money with the inhabitants of Iganai- 
yur on interest to be paid as paddy for providing offerings every 
year at the festival of pudiyidu (the first crop?: ARE 139 of 1912). 
A twenty-ninth year inscription relates to a gift of money de- 
posited with the nagarattar (merchant-guild) of Tiruvorriyur 
and others, on interest to be given as paddy, for celebrating 
the festival of Margali Tiruvadirai and for feeding three men 
learned in the Vedas. The money was in units of tulai mrai pon 
and Madhurantaka devan madai (ARE 140 of 1912). A gift of one 
Rajarajan kasu was deposited with the same nagarattar on interest 
payable in paddy, for feeding a brahmana, by one Kuttan Ganavadi 
alias Uttamasola Marayan, a military officer of Gangaikondan 
(ARE 141 of 1912); the same record also makes reference to a 
money gift by one Ariyammai. A record of the twenty-sixth 
year mentions that a royal officer, Rajendrasinga Muvendavelan, 
made enquiries into the temple affairs in the hall called Vakkanik- 
kum mandapam, and fixed the details of the services to be main- 
tained out of the kurra-dandam (fines) and “excess paddy” collected 
from the temple servants and the tenants of the devadanam 
village: the items of expenditure covered included ghee, camphor, 
food and clothes for the garland-makers, food and clothes for the 
brahmanas who recited the Vedas, rice, sugar, dal, vegetables, 
curds, pepper, betel leaves and nuts. Such of these items as were 



302 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


not locally available were imported and paid -for in gold, and 
the local items in paddy (ARE 146 of 1912). Another inscription 
of the twenty-sixth year, found in one of the pillars of the verandah 
round the central shrine, mentions that twelve devaradiyars 
(women-servants of the temple) were dedicated for the service 
of the Goddess Gauri, and the proceeds of the sale of some lands 
by the villagers of the devadanam village of Iganaiyur to one 
Sattan Ramadeviyar, described as an anukkiyar of the king, 
were earmarked for their maintenance (ARE 153 of 1912). 

The inscriptions of the days of Rajadhiraja I are equally 
numerous. On the south side of the base of the central shrine, 
we have his earliest record, dated in his third year (ARE 127 of 
1912). It refers to a sale of land by the residents of Veshasharu- 
padiyur to a brahmana lady called Ariyavammai, wife of Prabhakara 
Bhatta of Megalapura in Arya desa, for the purpose of feeding 
the mahesvaras at the Rajendrasolan, evidently a matha, built 
by her in the temple premises. An inscription of his sixth year, 
found on the south wall of the central shrine, relates to a gift 
of 32 cows for a lamp by a devotee called Periyanayan alias 
Manikkavasagan (ARE 107 of 1912). There is a twenty-second 
year inscription on a pillar of the prakara\ It records a gift 
of money for providing daily a bundle of grass to a cow and 
for other services (ARE 151 of 1912). A record of his twenty- 
sixth year, found on the south wall of the central shrine, registers 
an enquiry into the temple affairs by the adhikaris (officers), 
Valavan Muvendavelan and Vik(ki)ramasinga Muvendavelan, 
in the Mannai-kondasolan mandapa, obviously so named in 
commemoration of a Chola victory over the Western Chalukyas 
in a.d. 1044 (Mannai = Manyakheta; ARE 103 of 1912). There 
are two inscriptions of the 27th year; one of them is incomplete 
and contains merely a part of the prasasti beginning with tingaler 
tarn ; the other relates to a gift of money by the members of the 
assembly of Manali alias Singavishnu chaturvedimangalam, for 
the conduct of the Masi-maham festival (ARE 142 and 144 of 
1912). On the north side of the base of the central shrine is a 
twenty-eighth year inscription recording a gift of money for 
special offerings on the day following the Panguni Uttiram festival. 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA i’s TIME 


303 


The Assembly of Kavanur alias Kamala-narayana chaturvedi- 
mangalam received 30 kasus and agreed to contribute 75 kalams 
of paddy as interest every year for the expenses on that day 
(ARE 137 of 1912): this record also mentions pattarkal-tirumeni 
(images of the nayanmar). A record of his twenty-eight year, 
1 34th day is of interest in that it gives details of the administrative 
units of the Tondaimandalam region (ARE 102 of 1912): It 
registers a sale of land by certain members of the assembly of 
Manali alias Singavishnu chaturvedimangalam, a devadana village 
of the temple of Tiruvorriyur Udaiyar, to a military officer. 
A thirty-first year record, found on one of the prakara pillars, 
deals with a gift of 95 sheep for a perpetual lamp to the temple 
by Chatural Chaturi, wife ( agamudaiyal ) of Nagan Perungadan, 
and a woman-servant of the temple {devaradiyal) , showing in- 
cidentally that a devaradiyal could lead a normal married life 
(ARE 147 of 1912). Another record of his thirty-first year re- 
gisters a sale of land by the Assembly of Sundarasola chaturvedi- 
mangalam, a brahmadeya village to Nagalavaichchani alias Ariya- 
vammai, wife of Prabhakara Bhatta, a resident of Megalapuram 
in Arya desa, and a devotee of this temple: we have already 
met with this lady in the third year record. This land was also 
given to the Rajendrasolan matha founded by her. This record 
also mentions other land-sales, one by the nagaram of Tiruvorri- 
yur in the twenty-seventh year of the king (ARE 132 of 1912). A 
record of the thirty-third year refers to the king as Rajakesari 
Vijaya-rajendra, and relates to a gift of 92 sheep for a lamp by 
one Sundara Chola-Pandya Villuparaiyan, a panimagan (servant) 
of the temple and resident of Kanchipuram (ARE 149 of 1912). 
Finally, we have a record of the thirty-eighth year referring to 
a sale of land by the assembly of Kurattur in Ambattur nadu, 
a sub-division of Pular kottam, for conducting the daily services 
in the temple of Tiruvorriyur udaiyar Karanai Vitanka devar 
(ARE 129 of 1912). This name evidently applied to a processional 
image (of Siva) : we revert to this subject in our discussion of the 
Nataraja shrine below. 

References to gifts to temples in the Chola domain by donors 
from outside it are rather uncommon. Tiruvorriyur seems to have 



304 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


attracted the attention of people of the north country, as the 
references to Nimbala devi from Viratadesa and Ariyavammai 
from Aryadesa show; the latter also made a gift of 4,000 kulis 
of land, from the produce of which a flower garden was to be 
maintained and four garlands supplied daily to the temple; 
the land so purchased included house sites for the cultivating 
tenants, who were also exempted from payment of taxes of any 
kind (ARE 155 of 1912). 

There are some interesting inscriptions of the short reign 
of Vira Rajendra (a.d. 1063-69). Two of them are on the walls 
of the Gaulisa shrine, one in the Nataraja shrine, and two others 
in the central shrine. From one of the last-mentioned, we learn 
that 60 velis of waste land in Simhavishnu chaturvedimangalam 
(Manali) were brought under cultivation, and designated 
Virarajendra vilagam. Its income in paddy, gold and kasus 
was allotted under various items of expenditure “for the health 
of the Chakravartin Virarajendradeva, for the increase of his 
race, for the prosperity of the tirumangalyam (ornament worn 
by women as a symbol of their married state) of the queen and 
for the growing health of their children”. The items included: 
the pay of two priests engaged in the duties of worship of the 
Lord and of the musician who performed at the ceremonial 
occasion of “waking up the Lord from sleep”; the conduct of 
the Tiruvadirai tirunal, when the image of Karana Vitanka 
devar was taken in procession and the Tiruvembavai of Manikka- 
vasagar was recited before it; and the maintenance of 22 taliyilar 
who danced and sang, their dancing master, four cooks, and 
16 devar adiyar (women temple-servants) who recited the Tirup- 
padiyam {Devar am) in a low pitch called ahamargam (ARE 1 28 of 
1912). From the other inscription in the central shrine (of this 
reign), we learn that the weavers of the Jayasinga-kulakala 
perunteru made a gift of 120 kasus towards the celebration each 
month of the. Aslesha asterism, the king’s natal star. This record 
also refers to two officers who held an enquiry into the temple 
affairs at the Vakkanikkum mandapa (ARE 128 of 1912). We 
deal with the inscription on the Nataraja shrine in our discus- 
sion of this shrine. 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA I’s TIME 305 

There are a number of inscriptions of the Later Cholas and 
subsequent ruling dynasties. f 

The Central Shrine 

The central shrine, dedicated to Adipurisvarar, is apsidal 
in shape (from the upanam to the stupi ) and is tri-tala. It faces 
east, and consists of a garbhagriha and an antarala. It is built of 
black granite, fine-grained and of excellent quality. The five 
devakoshtas of the shrine contain images of Ganesa and Dakshi- 
namurti in the south, Vishnu in the west, and Brahma and Durga 
in the north. There is a colonnaded verandah with a low plat- 
form surrounding the shrine ( tiruch-churru-maligai ) ; its pillars 
are in two rows, and most of them bear inscriptions of the days 
of Parantaka I. 

There are a number of subsidiary shrines in the temple. 

NATARAJA SHRINE 

This shrine, facing south, is to the north-east of the main 
shrine, the two having a common mukhamandapa. The devakoshta 


■f Some Later Chola Inscriptions : One, of the reign of Kulottunga I, refers to Tiruvorriyur as 
Adipura. Another, of the same reign, refers to a revenue division called Kalyanapurangonda- 
sota valanadu. Yet another refers to a matha named after Kulottunga, in the temple campus. 
An inscription of the days of Kulottunga III refers to a breed of cows called asangada-gandan- 
surabhi. Yet another reveals the practice of donating lamp-stands shaped like and named 
after the donor. A third refers to the god Vyakarana-dana Perumal, the king himself being 
referred to as Ulaguyya Nayanar. Finally, we learn that the Vyakarana-dana-vyakhyana 
mandapa was built around the thirty-fifth year of this king, by one Durgaiyandi Nayakan. 

Panini’s Vyakarana (Sanskrit grammar) seems to have received considerable attention in 
this place. According to tradition, the first i4 aphorisms of that grammar were produced 
by Siva from His damaru (kettle-drum), and made a gift of to Panini. Hence the name of 
Vyakaranadana Perumal, applied to Siva. The name of a local temple-priest is given as 
Vyakaranandana Bhatta. The above hall was presumably set up for the purpose of expound- 
ing this grammar. 

An inscription of Rajaraja III mentions the “gift” of five women and their descendants 
for husking paddy in the temple, by one Vayalurk-kilavan Tiruvegambam udaiyan Sentama- 
raikkannan. According to another, the king had occasion to listen to the singing in a low, 
deep voice (a style called ahamargam) by one Uravakkina Talaik-koli, one of the padiyilar 
(women-singers in a temple), in the Rajarajan tirumandapam, on the night of the eighth day of 
the Avanit-tinmal festival. He was so enchanted with it that he passed orders that 60 velis of 
land be detached from Manali and be renamed Uravakkina-nallur, as suggested by the 
temple trustees (ARE 2n to i9i2). 



3°6 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


figures consist of a beautiful and rare image known as Ekapada- 
murti (in the north), Brahma and Vishnu. On the base of this 
shrine, there is an inscription of the twenty-eighth year of Raja- 
dhiraja I (ARE 220 of 1912), which refers to a sale of land for 
offerings in the temple of Karanai Vitanka devar at Tiruvorriyur 
by the assemblies of Sundarasola and Vanavan Madevi-chatur- 
vedimangalams. On the base of the stone pedestal of the Nata- 
raja image in the shrine, there is an inscription which records that 
the pedestal, called Vira Rajendra, was set up by one Sivaloka- 
nathan of Tiruvenkadu (ARE 217 of 1912). An inscription of 
the third year of Adhirajendra records a sale of land by the 
assembly of Sundarasola chaturvedimangalam to the temple 
of Tiruvorriyur Udaiyar (ARE 219 of 1912). On the base of the 
shrine again, there are two inscriptions of Kulottunga I, one 
of them referring to the shrine of Kumarasvami devar (Subrah- 
manyar) in the temple complex (ARE 221 and 222 of 1912). 

It thus appears that the present Nataraja shrine is the same 
as the Karanai Vitankar shrine of the inscriptions, and came 
into existence in the days of Rajadhiraja I, if not earlier; possi- 
bly, it received finishing touches in the days of Vira Rajendra. 
Was it a Siva shrine converted in later days into a Nataraja 
shrine? 

GAULISA (. PADAMPAKKA NATAKAR ) SHRINE 

This is a small, square, stone structure, situated in the second 
prakara of the main shrine and to the south of it. It faces east, 
and comprises a garbhagriha and an antarala in front of it. The 
presiding deity (or image), now called Gaulisa (or Gaulisvara), 
is in thej yoga posture, and is four-armed: the lower right arm 
is in the chin-mudra pose, the lower left hand is held parallel 
to the ground and close to the torso, with the palm open upwards, 
the upper right hand holds a trident (apparently, the upper 
part is missing), and the upper left hand holds a bowl. The 
devakoshta in the rear (west) houses a fine Vishnu image, and that 
in the north, one of Brahma. 

The superstructure over the sanctum is modern. Two of the 
inscriptions in this shrine belong to the fifth year of Vira Rajendra. 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA l’s TIME 3O7 

According to one of them (ARE 232 of 1912), this shrine was 
built of stone for Padampakka Nay aka deva by one Pasupati 
Tiruvaranga devan alias Rajendra Muvendavelan of Manakkudi. 
A sale of land to the shrine of Tiruvorriyur udaiya Padampakka 
Nayakar by the assemblies of Sundarasola and Vanavan Madevi- 
chaturvedimangalams is recorded by the other (ARE 226 of 1912) . 
A record of the sixth year of the same ruler is inscribed in conti- 
nuation of the above, and relates to a sale of land by the assembly 
of Singavishnu chaturvedimangalam to the builder of the shrine, 
Pasupati Tiruvaranga devan, for establishing a garden named 
after Vira Rajendra. There are two inscriptions of Kulottunga I 
as well, in this shrine. 

The Cholas of the Middle and Later periods seem to have 
been deeply interested in the Saiva cult called the Lakulisa 
cult; it is likely that Tiruvorriyur was a strong centre of this 
cult during these periods, and that this shrine was dedicated to 
to Lakulisa (corrupted in course of time into Gaulisa). In this 
connection, we may quote the Government Epigraphist, writing 
in the ARE for 1913 (p.103): 

“The stone image of Padampakka devar is apparently the 
same as that of the present Gaulisvara. It cannot be explained 
why Padampakka came to be called Gaulisvara or what Padam- 
pakka actually meant . . . (The deity/image) does not correspond 
to any of the forms of Siva known to me so far, and leaves it 
doubtful whether the image may not be one of Lakulisa of 
Karohana (Karvan), with whom the temple of Tiruvorriyur 
may have been intimately connected.” 

Rajadhiraja II is said to have attended a festival in the shrine; 
two gurus , Chaturanana Pandita and Vagisvara Pandita, were 
also present on the occasion, and the latter expounded the 
Soma Siddhanta (the philosophy of the Kapalika sect of Saivism) 
in the royal presence ; later, all the three listened to a discourse 
on the life of Sundarar (Aludaiya Nambi). 

The Gaulisa shrine also houses a fine image in black granite 
of Adi Sankara, shown seated on high pedestal, and his four 
disciples, shown sitting cross-legged and in the anjali pose, 
at his feet. We have no indication as to where and by whom this 



308 middle chola temples 

was originally installed. 


VATTAPIRAI AMMAN SHRINE 

This small stone shrine for the Saptamatrika group, complete 
with the guardian deities of Ganesa and Virabhadra, is located 
in the first prakara of the main shrine, immediately to the north 
of the apsidal (rear) portion of the garbhagriha. The image of Cha- 
munda here is considerably bigger than that of any of the others 
of the group, the latter being all of one size. Presumably, the 
name “Vattapirai Amman” refers to Chamunda here. 

SUBRAHMANTAR SHRINE 

This lies east of the mukhamandapa of the central shrine (and 
of the Nataraja shrine), and also faces east. It is of no great 
artistic merit. The only inscription in this shrine is on the south 
side of the base and relates to the ninth year of Rajaraja III 
(ARE 227 of 1912): it is not a foundation inscription. We do 
not know what, if any, the connection is between the present 
Subrahmanyar shrine and the shrine of Kumarasvami devar 
mentioned in the inscriptions of the temple. 

These five shrines constitute the hard core of the temple. 
Of the adjuncts, the shrine for Bhairavar is noteworthy: the 
Bhairavar image bears a sula in the upper right hand and a 
bowl in the upper left — features similar to the Gaulisa image. 
(See my Four Chola Temples, p. 31). The shrine is in the second 
prakara, to the north-east of the main shrine. 

The kalyana-mandapa to the east of the sacred tank, and the 
five-storeyed gopuram on the outer wall of enclosure are later 
structures. 

There are some fine Pallava and Chola sculptures lying loose 
in the temple. One of them is a half-buried or broken image 
of Kali, now kept in a small, low-roofed modern chamber abutting 
on the south wall of the second prakara. It is a fine specimen 
of the Middle Chola period, delicately chiselled in black stone. 
It has a skull on top of the head, flanked by two snakes rearing 
their hoods. A skull-garland draped over the head falls down 
to the ears on either side; there is an outsized preta-kundala 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA x’s TIME 309 

(corpse-shaped ear-ornament) on the right ear. The upper left arm 
carries a kapala in its palm, and the upper right hand carries 
a trident. The lower right hand is in the abhaya pose, and the 
lower left hangs down, almost unbent, in what is perhaps the 
kati-avalambita pose. There is a skull-garland across the torso 
in the yajnopavita style, and a kucha-bandha. 

Also of the same period are the image of Chandesvarar 
found in the front mandapa of the central shrine, the two massive 
and magnificent dvarapalas at the entrance from the mukhamandapa 
to the first prakara of the main shrine and the Kshetrapalar 
image lying loose, all of excellent workmanship. 

The temple of Adipurisvarar should be considered one of 
the finest specimens built in the days of Rajendra I in Tondai- 
mandalam with the distinguishing feature of an apsidal, tri- 
tala vimana (Pis 300 to 314). 


KULAMBANDAL 

JAGANNATHESVARAR TEMPLE 
(GANGAIKONDA-CHOLISVARAM) 72 

Kulambandal, also sometimes called Kulamandal, is a small 
village, 18 kms from Kanchipuram towards the south, on the 
Kanchipuram-Vandavasi road. Arpakkam, Kavantandalam, 
Magaral, Mamandur and Uttaramerur are all within a few 
kilometres from it. Apart from the Siva temple here, there 
are also the remains of a Vishnu temple in the west, a Mahavira 
image in situ in the south-west, and a Durga image in situ in the 
south. The positioning of these temples accords with the re- 
quirements of the Agamas and vastu sastra, indicating that, in all 
probability, the township was newly laid out in conformity 
with those texts. 

The Siva temple, now called the Jagannathesvarar temple, 
was in a state of disrepair till recently (see the coverage of the 
temple in my Four Chola Temples PI 30). It has since undergone 
scientific renovation under the direction of R. Nagaswamy of 
the Department of Archaeology, Government of Tamil Nadu. 



3io 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


An inscription on its walls, of the twenty-second year of 
Rajendra I, reveals that it was built by one Guru Isana Siva 
Pandita and was called Gangaikonda-cholisvaram (ARE 414 
of 1902: SII, VII, 1047). I* is likely that this guru came of 
the distinguished lineage of the Saiva acharyas associated with 
the Rajarajesvaram at Tanjavur. Its construction must have 
taken place between the eleventh and twenty-second years of 
Rajendra I. For some reason, the temple does not appear to 
have received the final finishing touches, as the sculptures of 
Dakshinamurti and Vinadhara Dakshinamurti in the third 
and second talas indicate. 

The temple faces east and consists of an all-stone, tri-tala 
srivimana , with an ardhamandapa and a mukhamandapa in front. 
There must once have been a wall of enclosure, but only its 
basement remains. The garbhagriha is square, and is supported 
by an upapitham as well as an adhishthanam , the latter comprising 
the padmam and kumudam mouldings, topped by a yali frieze. 
The walls of the garbhagriha have six pilasters to a side, massive 
and hexagonal, and similar in appearance to the pillars of the 
mukhamandapa', above the pilasters are the cornice and a yali 
frieze. The walls contain inscriptions of the Chola and Vijaya- 
nagara periods. Each of the three free sides contains three 
devakoshtas. These niches contain (reckoned in clockwise order) 
the following images: Bhikshatanar, Dakshinamurti and Hariharar 
in the south; Vishnu, Lingodbhavar and (again) Hariharar in the 
west; and Subrahmanyar and Brahma in the north, the third 
northern niche being empty; the ardhamandapa niches contain 
Durga in the north and a standing Ganapati in the south (See 
Damilica, Vol. 1, 1970). 

The entablature of the second tala of the srivimana is crowned 
by karna-kutas in the four corners and salas in the four cardinal 
directions. In the third tala , again, there are karna-kutas in the 
four corners, with a pair of Nandis, one on either side of each of 
them. The circular griva is decorated with four niche figures 
in the cardinal directions. The sikhara is almost spherical with a 
concave depression in the lower half running all around. The 
tapering upper half of the sikhara is decorated on top with a 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA i’s TIME 


3* 1 

mahapadma. There is no stupi. 

There are remnants of the mahamandapa, ahead (to the east) 
of the mukhamandapa. It has entrances to the south and east, 
flanked by dvarapalas typical of this period. The roof is missing, 
but, in the recent restoration, the walls which had partially 
collapsed, have been effectively restored up to the vyalavari above 
the cornice ; the floor of the mandapa is about a metre above the 
ground level, and there are flights of steps and landings at the 
two entrances, the entire configuration being reminiscent some- 
what of those at the great temples at Tanjavur and Gangaikonda- 
solapuram (Pis 315 to 324). 

To the east of the mahamandapa was a dislodged nandi, which 
has now been restored to its proper position. Further to the 
east of the nandi is a big 16-pillared mandapa , of which only a few 
pillars and the basement were traceable before the renovation; 
the pillars have now been set upright and the platform cleared 
of all debris, but there is (still) no roof. 

All the other temples and shrines have disappeared without 
a trace, except for the debris of a brick garbhagriha which still 
contains the magnificent sculptures of Vishnu, Bhudevi and Sri- 
devi, benign of aspect and of great artistic merit. The man-sized 
Vishnu image measures 175.26 cms (5' 9") in height, and the 
pedestal thereof, 30.48 cms (i') ; the corresponding measurements 
for either devi image are: 162.56 cms (5' 4") and 22.86 cms (9*). 
Immediate steps need to be taken to preserve these images for 
posterity, representing as they do the high water-mark of stone 
sculpture even within the Chola period itself. 

A Durga image was found embedded in a platform and has 
been restored. A sculpture of Mahavira is now being taken care 
of by the State Department of Archaeology. 

The planned disposition here of the Siva, Vishnu and Jina 
temples is reminiscent of Olagapuram and Dadapuram, asso- 
ciated with Logamahadevi and Kundavai respectively. In 
particular, there is considerable similarity between the Vishnu 
triad here and that at Olagapuram. 



312 MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 

MANNARKOYIL 


GOPALASVAMIN TEMPLE 
73 (RAJENDRASOLA VINNAGARAM) 

The village of Mannarkoyil is at a distance of about 6.50 kms 
(four miles) north of Ambasamudram the headquarters of the 
taluk of the same name in Tirunelveli district. There is a huge 
Vishnu temple here, currently called the Rajagopalasvamin 
temple. During the period of Ghola rule over this part of the 
country, however, it bore the name of Rajendrasola Vinnagaram 
(after Rajendra I). The principal deity is called Vedanarayanar, 
and the consorts Vedavalli and Bhuvanavalli. The utsava-murti 
is known as Rajagopalasvamin, whence the temple derives its 
present name. 

As many as nine inscriptions have been recorded from the 
walls of the central shrine of this temple (ARE 106 to 114 of 
1905). Five of these relate to the Chola viceroy in the Pandya 
country named Jatavarman Sundara Chola-Pandya, a son of 
Rajendra I ; four of them are of his fourth, thirteenth, fourteenth 
and sixteenth years, and the date of the fifth one is lost. In the 
fourth year record itself, the temple is referred to as Rajendra- 
sola Vinnagar. In the other records, as well as in one of a Mara- 
varman Vikrama Chola-Pandya, two Chera princes, Rajaraja 
deva and Rajasimha, are mentioned. These two princes probably 
owed allegiance to the Imperial Cholas, confirming the claims 
of Rajaraja I and Rajendra I to having conquered the Chera 
country. Yet again, in an inscription of the twenty-fourth year 
of Rajendra I (ARE 112 of 1905), the temple is called Rajendra- 
sola Vinnagar, and is stated to have been built by Rajasimha, 
the Chera feudatory, and named after the overlord: the king 
makes a grant of land to the temple to take effect from that year 
(a.d. 1036), also referred to as the fifteenth year of the Chola- 
Pandya viceroy; this fixes the date of accession of the latter (to 
this viceroyalty) at a.d. 1021. Thus this temple is a foundation of 
the days of Rajendra I and must have been completed in or 
before the fourth year of this viceroy, namely, a.d. 1025. 



Temples of rajendra i’s time 313 

The temple, which dominates the neighbouring landscape, 
has an extensive campus and has many fine features. The main 
shrine, whose srivimana is tri-tala, consists of a garbhagriha, an 
ardhamandapa, a mahamandapa and a mukhamandapa with a wide 
courtyard providing a circumambulatory passage. There are 
two walls of enclosure and, on the eastern wing of each there 
is a gopuram. The garbhagriha and the ardhamandapa (of the ground 
floor) constitute a unitary block, measuring on the outside 
13-50 ms in length ad 12-32 ms in breadth (making almost a 
square), and 4-46 ms in height. The garbhagriha (of the adi-tala) 
is of the sandhara type: double-walled, with a narrow passage 
going all around the cella of the garbhagriha (the inner and outer 
walls being called respectively antara-bhitti and bahya-bhitti) , 
similar to what we fine at the Rajarajesvaram in Tanjavur. The 
devakoshtas of the outer wall of the garbhagriha are bereft of sculp- 
tures, unlike what we find in the Pallava and Chola country, 
but a common feature in the Pandya country. 

In the garbhagriha (of the adi-tala), there are standing images 
of (Vishnu as) Vedanarayanar in the centre, with His Consorts 
Vedavalli and Bhuvanavalli, one on either side, close to the 
rear wall. The Lord has the sankha and the chakra in His upper 
left and right arms, the lower right arm in the abhaya pose, and 
the lower left arm resting on a mace; the image is 1.98 ms high, 
reckoning without the padma-pitham. All the three images are 
said to be covered with stucco (though made of stone) ; con- 
sequently, no abhishekas are performed for them. On the rear 
wall, back of these images, there are painted replicas of these 
images (with the same insignia and poses of the hands) ; on the 
southern and northern walls of the sanctum, there are paintings 
of Brahma and of Siva on Mount Kailasa, respectively. In front 
of the above images are placed the processional metal images 
of Vedanarayanar and consorts (these receive abhishekas ). 

The ardhamandapa is supported by eight pillars and on its 
north wall, there is a window consisting of 16 square openings. 

There are counterparts in the two upper talas for the gar- 
bhagriha and the ardhamandapa of the adi-tala, which we shall 
call by the same names. The second tala is reached by a 



314 MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 

narrow flight of stairs abutting on, and outside, the southern side 
of the common outer wall of the garbhagriha and ardhamandapa, 
which takes us to the ardhamandapa of that tala and thence to 
the garbhagriha thereof. There are seated stucco images of Vishnu 
and His consorts, Bhudevi and Sridevi, on either side of Him, and 
icons of Markandeya and Bhrigu-rishi, one on either side of the 
triad and facing each other, in the garbhagriha of this tala, and 
painted replicas of these images on the rear wall thereof. 
Paintings of Brahma, and of Siva on Mount Kailasa adorn the 
southern and northern walls (inner surfaces) of the garbhagriha, 
respectively. 

The (presumably) brick and mortar roof of the garbhagriha 
(of this tala ) is supported by wooden beams; the wooden roof 
of the ardhamandapa is supported by pillars, two of stone and 
the rest of wood, and the wood elements are all beautifully 
carved and painted. 

Another narrow flight of steps, on the east side of the second 
tala, leads to the third tala. The garbhagriha of this (the third) 
tala houses an image of Vishnu as Anantasayana, and images 
of Sridevi, Bhudevi and of the (same) rishis; there is a painted 
replica of this set of images on the west wall of the chamber, 
and paintings of Brahma, and of Siva as Tripurantakar on the 
southern and northern walls, respectively. The ardhamandapa 
roof is (again) of wood, with the pillars (also of wood), beams 
and rafters beautifully carved; it is flat in the middle and slopes 
downwards at the sides to permit the tapering off of the sikhara 
on top. 

The superstructure over the third tala, consisting of the 
griva and a sala- type (barrel-roofed) sikhara crowned by three 
stupis, is of brick and mortar. There are salas on the south, west 
and north faces of the third tala, whose koshtas contain images 
of Yoga Dakshinamurti, Narasimha and Brahma, respectively. 
The same images are repeated in the griva-koshtas as well. There 
are no images on the east faces of the sikhara and griva. There are 
garuda figures in the four corners of the sikhara. 

The mahajnamlapa, a later addition, projects 19.81 ms (65') 
forward from the ardhamandapa. It serves also as a snapana-mandapa. 



TEMPLES OF RAJENQRA frs TIME 


315 


It is supported by eighteen beautifully carved pillars, five in each 
flank, two each at the east and west edges, and four in the four 
corners at an angle to the rest, the whole structure having a 
compact appearance. 

The ardhamandapa houses a fine set of three bronzes, namely, 
the processional deities. They are, from left to right, Sridevi, 
Vedanarayanar and Bhudevi. Without the pedestal, the main 
image measures 57-15 cms (22.5") in height, the pedestal itself 
being 17.78 cms (7") high; the corresponding figures for either 
devi image are: 43.18 cms (17") and 13.97 cms (5.5"), respective- 
ly. The Vedanarayana image holds the chakra and sankha in the 
two upper hands, and the lower arms are held in the varada 
and abhaya poses. He wears the upavita, the channavira and the 
skandamala besides a variety of other ornaments; each of the 
consorts holds a flower (lotus or nilotpda ) in one hand, the other 
hand being held in the kati-avalambita pose. In the north-western 
comer, there are the following bronzes: (i) Sudarsanam, (it) 
Navanita Krishna, seated on a snake-pitham with three coils 
and five hoods, and with a ball of butter in his hand, (Hi) Narttana 
Krishna, (tv) Sita, (0) Rama with bow and arrow, and (vi) 
Lakshmana with bow only. 

Again, in the same corner of the same hall, adjoining the 
wall, there is a set of bronzes of the Alvars, forming an impres- 
sive array indeed. They are: (i) Vishvaksena, seated, with 
two hands holding the sankha and the chakra, and the other 
two arms held in the abhaya and varaia. poses, (if) Poigai Alvar, 
(Hi) Bhutattalvar, (iv) Pey Alvar, (v) Tirumalisai Alvar, (vi) 
Kulasekhara Alvar, (vii) Madhura Kavi, (viii) Tondaradippodi 
Alvar, (ix) Tirup-pan Alvar, (x) Tirumangai Alvar, (xi) Peri- 
yalvar (with hair knotted up near the forehead and holding 
a flower-basket in his hand), (xii) Udaiyavar or Ramanuja, 
with the tri-dandam, and (xiii) Manavalamuni (without the 
tri-dandam ) . 

In the mukhamandapa, there is a fine set of tall icons of Rama, 
Lakshmana, Sita and Hanuman, said to have been recovered 
some time back from a neighbouring well. 

The mahamandapa contains some bi'onzes as well, namely, 



3 l6 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


of the processional deities (under worship) : Rajagopalasvamin, 
Andal and Garuda, all on a manjam (high platform). The image 
of Rajagopalasvamin* measures 86.36 cms ( 2 ' 10") including 
the pitham. Andal holds her right arm in the kati-avalambita pose, 
while her left hand holds a nilotpala flower. She has an elegant 
top knot of hair in the usual Andal style, to the side of the 
head. This image measures 63.50 cms ( 2 ' 1") with the pitham. 
Garuda holds his arms in the anjali pose and has a snake draped 
over his arms, which are adorned with bahuvalayas among others. 
This image is 69.85 cms (2' 3J") high. 

To one side of the mahamandapa is a fine sesha-vahana (pro- 
cessional serpent-couch), made entirely of cast-copper, which 
measures 1.22 ms (4') on the outside from end to end, and 0.86 m 
(2' 10") on the inner side of the aureola; the snake-coil is about 
1.03 ms (3' 4|") high, while the hood portion measures 0.56 m 
(22") from end to end; there are seven hoods. 

Kulasekhara Alvar shrine : To the north of the main shrine 
and in the same compound, is a Pandyan shrine dedicated to 
Kulasekhara Alvar, one of the Vaishnava saints. It was set up 
before the fourteenth year of Maravarman Sundara Pandya 
Deva, in the first quarter of the thirteenth century'. IHs a small, 
compact structure, with the garbhagriha measuring 4.19 ms 
(13' 9") square, and the antarala projecting 2.87 ms (9' 5") 
forward; the two are surrounded by a tiruch-churru-maligai. The 
shrine faces south; it is an eka-tala structure with a griva and 
an octagonal, curvilinear sikhara. The garbhagriha walls have 
only token niches, with no sculptures in them. 

In his Aspects of Temple Architecture (p.119), K.V. Soundara- 
rajan refers to this temple (the Gopalasvamin temple) as a 
structural temple of the Pandya-Chola period and of a 
mixed style, and ascribes it to the tenth century a.d. There 
seems to be little evidence for the last conclusion of his. We 
have adduced epigraphical evidence above to support the con- 
clusion that the temple is definitely of the period of Rajendra I, 
and hence of the first quarter of the eleventh century a.d. (1025). 

* ‘According to local version, the right arm is in the Mokshahasta pose and the left is in the 
Bhogahasta pose’. 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA I*S TIME 3 1 7 

During the period of the Imperial Chola sway over the Pandya 
country, the Chola viceroys (who were called Chola-Pandyas) 
and the Chola feudatories built a number of temples in the 
Pandya country and embellished them with a number of stone 
and metal sculptures. Examples of such temples are the Somana- 
thesvarar temple at Attur, the Kailasanathar temple at Brahma- 
desam, the Tiruvalisvaram temple, the Kailasapati temple at 
Gangaikondan, the Pallikondar temple at Tirunelveli, and of 
course the present temple. These structures and icons have 
certain distinct features. The most noticeable, characteristic 
architectural feature is the shallowness of the devakoshtas on the 
garbhagriha and ardhamandapa walls and the absence of any 
images in them. The metals have oval and angular faces, con- 
trasting with the rounded and full faces of the icons in the Chola 
country; they have heavy and bulbous (bun-like) hairdo, and 
the ridges of the noses are exceedingly thin, giving the impression 
of very sharp and pointed noses. These features are so char- 
acteristic of the temples of this region that we may postulate a 
“Chola- Pandya idiom” in the Dravidian style of temple archi- 
tecture and sculpture in this period (Pis 325 to 329). 


SITIBETA 

BHAIRAVAR TEMPLE 74 

Sitibeta (or betta) is a small out-of-the-way village in the 
Kolar taluk of Kolar district, and lies about 20 kms north of 
the Bangalore-Kolar highway along a district road taking off 
from it near the 34-km stone from Bangalore; the terrain for 
miles around is undulating and dotted with stark hillocks. 

On an isolated hillock here, about 80 to 90 ms high, there 
is a temple dedicated to Bhairavar. It contains a number of 
inscriptions in Grantha and Tamil characters. The earliest is 
dateable to the twelfth regnal year of Rajendra I (a.d. 1024). 
Incomplete, it breaks off after referring to “the hill of Sripati. . . 
in Nigarilisola (mandalam) alias Nulambapadi” (E.C., X, Kl.44). 
Then we have a record of the thirteenth year of Kulottunga I 



318 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


(a.d. 1083), mentioning that one Virasola Brahmamarayan, the 
overlord of Sattanur in Kuvalala nadu, renovated a mandapa 
and the pitha of the Kshetrapalar image (ibid., 43). The village 
is called Sipati and the deity Sipati Nayanar, in some records 
of the thirteenth century a.d. (ibid., 40a, 40b, 41). In a.d. 1279, 
a mandapa was built for the god Tribhuvana Vitanka Kshetrapala 
Pillaiyar of Sripati, and an endowment made for keeping it in 
good repair (ibid., 49). In a.d. 1339, the temple was given the 
proceeds of some taxes accruing from the two villages of Sripati 
and Kallapalli by a Hoysala chief “for the success of the sword 
and arm” of Periya Vallappa Dennanayaka, son of Posala Vira 
Vallala deva (ibid., 54). According to a record (a “ dharmasasana ”) 
found at the bottom of the hillock, of a.d. 1467, the lands grant- 
ed to the temple by Rajendra I and Vira Ballala had fallen 
into disuse or been misappropriated; one Narasinga Vodeyar 
reactivated these endowments, listed the ceremonies to be per- 
formed, endowed the temple with a total of 12 lamps, and set 
up a chatra for feeding 218 brahmanas daily (ibid., 33). The 
name of the deity is given as Bhairavar of Sihati or Sihatti in two 
inscriptions dated a.d. 1468 and 1495 (ibid., 35, 34). The modern 
name of Siti (beta) is an easy transition from the above. 

The main shrine, which faces east, has an eka-tala srivimana. 
The garbhagriha and ardhamandapa, which are original, measure 
3.44 ms and 3.70 ms along the axis of the temple, respectively, 
and 3.00 ms and 4.35 ms across. There is a later, larger mandapa 
in front, measuring 7.65 ms by 7.35 ms. 

Two of the three devakoshtas on the garbhagriha walls are 
empty; the third devakoshta contains an image of Bhairavar 
with upturned hair, profusely adorned with jewellery and a 
munda-mala coming down to well below the knees. The niches 
are flanked by well-turned circular pilasters, and the walls are 
relieved by octagonal pilasters. 

At the corners of the platform under the griva, there are 
addorsed nandis, and the griva-koshtas house Bhairavar images. 
There are no kutas or salas above the entablature. The entire 
structure is in stone, with stucco coating and ornamentation. 
The stupi is missing. 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA I 5 S TIME 319 

The structural additions to the proper right of the shrine, 
comprising halls and partially built-up caves, are of a later date. 

Two beautiful metals found in this temple are attributable 
to the period of Rajendra I. The Bhairavar image is 60 cms 
high (including the fiadma-pitham) , and carries a kettle-drum, 
a snake and a skull-plate in three of the hands; the fourth is in 
the posture of holding the trident, though bereft of any weapon 
now. The Somaskanda group (with Skanda missing, and Siva 
and Uma called Sripatisvarar and Parvati locally) is evidently 
the work of the same craftsmen; the lion-head ( simha-mukha ) 
clasp at the waist is reminiscent of the Tripurantakar of the 
Tanjavur Art Gallery (Pis 330 to 333). 


KOLAR 

KOLARAMMA (PIDARIYAR) TEMPLE 75 

Kolar is now the headquarters of the district of that name 
in Karnataka State, adjoining Chittoor district of Andhra 
Pradesh and North Arcot and Salem districts of Tamil Nadu. 
It is 66 kms (41 miles) from Bangalore along the national 
highway to Madras. 

Nolambavadi, Nulambabadi or Nunambavadi was the land 
of the Nolambas, with the capital at Hemavati in the present 
Madakasira taluk of Anantapur district; they had their heyday 
during the ninth and tenth centuries a.d. Afterwards, their 
kingdom was absorbed in the expanding Chola empire of 
Rajaraja I, and became a Chola province under the name of 
Nigarihsola mandalam, of which Kuvalalam (modern Kolar) 
was an important centre. 

There are two important temples in the town itself, one 
of Pidari (Chamunda), here called Kolaramma, and the 
other of Somesvara; we are concerned with only the former 
here. 

Rajaraja I and Rajendra I appear to have stationed a con- 
tingent of their army in this area under General Uttamasola 
Brahmamarayan alias Marayan Aru(l)moli, son of Krishnan 



320 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


Raman ( alias Narakkan Marayan Jananathanar, of Keralantaka 
chaturvedimangalam or Amankudi, in Vennadu, a sub-division 
of Uyyakkondan valanadu). This Krishnan Raman was also 
known as Mummudisola Brahmamarayan in the days of Raja- 
raja I and as Rajendrasola Brahmamarayan (or Brahmadhirajan) 
in the days of Rajendra I. He frequently stepped in to ensure 
that the royal orders in respect of endowments were duly entered 
into the revenue registers (E.C., X, KC, iii & 112a: see 
below) . 

The earliest inscription in the temple is one of Rajaraja I. 
It mentions that a village in Kuvalala nadu in Nigarilisola 
mandalam was granted, with effect from the twelfth year of the 
king, as a devadana to the temple of Pidariyar at Kuvalalam 
in the same nadu {ibid., KC, 106c). An inscription of his 
twenty-second year registers that the king made the village 
of Araiyur in the same nadu a devadana and made it over to 
a Sivabrahmana, who was a priest of the goddess {ibid., K.C., 
1 06b). 

There are a number of inscriptions of Rajendra I. Two, 
of the eighth and twelfth years, concern gifts for lamps to the 
temple {ibid., KC, 106a, 112). Two register royal orders, of 
the eleventh and sixteenth years, each assigning a village in the 
same (Kuvalala) nadu as a devadana to the temple {ibid., K.C., 
112a, hi). An inscription dateable to a.d. 1030, found on the 
lintel of a doorway, mentions that a mandapam in the name of 
Rajendra I was erected by a lady called Jakkiyappai, at “the 
foot of Sulkal-malai, otherwise called Kanakaparvatam, in the 
Kadambanakkai nadu” {ibid., KC, 115). The most important 
inscription here of his days is of the twenty-second year; it re- 
cords that in pursuance of a royal command, General Uttama- 
sola Brahmamarayan (son of General Krishnan Raman) re- 
built of stone the brick temple of Pidariyar at Kuvalalam, and 
also gifted to it a perpetual lamp, seven “excellent she-buffaloes” 
and a lamp-lighter {ibid., Kl., 109a; ARE 480 of 191 1) . It seems 
likely that Rajendra I not only did the above rebuilding but 
built a new Saptamatrika shrine, adjacent to the mandapa in front 
of the original shrine. The images relating to the Yogini cult 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA i’s TIME 321 

and others referred to in an inscription* of the second year of 
Kulottunga I should be associated with this (new) shrine. 

We infer from a fragmentary record of the thirty-fifth year 
of Rajadhiraja I alias Vijaya Rajendra that Nigarilisola man- 
dalam was renamed Vijaya Rajendra mandalam in his days. 
There is also a record of the third year of Rajendradeva (II) 
relating to the gift of two perpetual lamps (ibid., K.E., 112b, 107). 

The ground plan of the temple complex has a rather strange 
look. The main shrine, that of Kolaramma, is to the north of the 
campus and faces east. The later, larger shrine faces north, 
and the two share a four-pillared mandapa (in front of both). 
Both shrines comprise a garbhagriha and an ardhamandapa. The 
treatment of the external wall surface parts (such as pilasters) is 
identical for the two shrines. 

The Kolaramma shrine houses images of the Saptamatrikas 
together with Ganapati and Virabhadra, the pride of place 
being given to Chamunda, whose image is larger than the rest. 
It is to her that the name Kolaramma refers (the Pidariyar of 
the inscriptions). To meet the need to accommodate as many 
as nine deities, the garbhagriha is oblong; it is supported by a 
low upanam and a high adhishthanam consisting of several mould- 
ings including a jagatippadai and a tri-patta kumudam ; these mould- 


*The second year inscription of Kulottunga I: In this inscription (ibid., KC, 108, 106 d), it is re- 
corded that one Ambalavanan Tiruppondaiyar alias Virasikhamani Muvendavelar (presumably 
a royal officer) ascertained from the Kannataka Pandita who was conducting the madapattiyam 
for the goddess and from the panchacharya pujaris, at an enquiry held in a mandapa of this 
temple, that no allotment of the paddy-equivalent had been made until that year to the deities 
and the temple servants, out of the revenue in gold ( madai ) collected from the devadana villages 
of the temple. He issued orders prescribing the equivalent (577 madais and three mahanis equi- 
valent to 1034 kasus equivalent to 2,834 kalams and odd of paddy). The record also lists the 
various deities for whose worship and for offerings to whom detailed provision was made from 
out of the above: the saptamatrikas with Ganapati and Virabhadra, Cbamundesvari of the 
midasthana , Yogesvari, Kshetrapala deva, Maha Sasta and Surya deva; also mentioned are 
Astra deva, 10 Kumbha-devatas and Nava graha devatas. Provision was made for the offer- 
ing of intoxicating drinks as part of the worship of Yogesvara and Yogini. Elaborate provision 
was made for the various temple servants (the Kannataka Pandita, priests and musicians, 
watchmen, gardeners, garland-makers, drummers and bell-ringers, an accountant, a danc- 
ing master and 24 dancing women, and various artisans) and for feeding physically handi- 
capped persons. Among the other beneficiaries listed, we find : four brahmacharins, four yoginis 
four yogesvaras, three bhairavas and a leader, and a lecturer on vyakarana and yaamala the pujari 
and the masons. (Also see my Early Chola Temples, pp. 147-8.) 



322 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


ings and the garbhagriha walls are covered with inscriptions. 
There is an animated bhutagana frieze below and a lion frieze 
above the cornice. The superstructure consists of a high griva 
and a sala- type sikhara (Pis 334 to 337). 

The other shrine houses stucco images of the Saptamatrikas, 
much bigger than those of the main shrine; its ardhamandapa, 
which is supported by a row of four pillars, contains a life-size 
figure of a female deity; there is no superstructure over the 
garbhagriha. 

The two shrines and the mandapa common to them are sur- 
rounded by a prakara and a tiruch-churru-maligai. The entrance 
to the temple-complex is on the east wall, but is not in line 
with the axis of the main shrine. Both the shrines can be 
approached only through the prakara. At the entrance to the 
main shrine (from the common mandapa ), there are two stone 
sculptures, Bhairavar on the left and Bhairavi (?) on the right. 

BELATURU 

76 BANESVARA TEMPLE 

Belaturu in Mysore district of Karnataka State would appear 
to have been a prosperous town in olden days, with a number of 
temples and a sizable trading activity. Today it is a remote village, 
reached with difficulty from the main district road connecting 
Mysore to Heggada-devankotte, the taluk headquarters; at the 
forty-fifth km from Mysore on this road, a five km link road 
branches off to the south-east, crossing the Kapini river over a 
newly constructed causeway to reach Belaturu. The village itself 
is on the Kapini and set in picturesque surroundings. 

There are three temples here, those of Mallesvara, Kalamma 
and Banesvara. There is yet another in the vicinity, in Addakatta 
hola, called the Binakalamma temple. 

The Banesvara temple is in ruins. On a stone lying at the site, 
there is an early Kannada inscription dated in Saka 943 and the 
ninth regnal year of Rajendra I. It says that Oreya (the chief?) 
of Nugunad had the temple, which had broken down and fallen 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA i’s TIME 323 

level with the ground, rebuilt, and the Linga which had been 
pulled out, re-installed, in that year; and one Basavayya, son 
of Muruga Setti and Maggabe of the same place, performed the 
Rudra homa , feasted a thousand people, and “casting forth the 
ball, completed the work of merit”. The same Basava Setti, along 
with one Jayangondasola Permmadi Gavunda, son of Javani 
Gavunda of Belatur, presented to the temple with the knowledge 
of the village elders, 15 units of wet land and five units of land 
for a flower-garden (the unit being called a “plough”). He also 
gifted land for a perpetual lamp (EC, IV, Pt. II, My., 16). 

Another slab here contains an incomplete inscription dated 
in Saka 955 and the twenty-second year of Rajendra I, referred 
to as the conqueror of Purvadesam, Ganga and Kadaram. 

A third slab, found near the temple, contains an inscription 
of the days of the Hoysala Vira Ballala, son of Vira Narasimha, 
which mentions that this temple was again reconstructed by a 
local Chief at a cost of 60 gadyana in cash together with 470 
saliga of rice to the stone-masons. The date of this renovation may 
be taken to be a.d. 1219. 

When the temple-site was visited by the author, 75 years 
after the estampages of the above inscriptions were taken by 
Rice, there was nothing left of the temple but a mound of stone 
rubble densely covered with vegetation; the Lingam was half- 
buried in the ground. The foundation inscription of Rajendra I 
was located with difficulty; a Saptamatrika panel was found 
at the site. 


SUTTURU 

MULASTHANAM UDAIYAR TEMPLE 77 

The village of Sutturu in Mysore district of Karnataka State 
is reached from the taluk headquarters of Nanjangud via Kaulan- 
dai and is at a distance of 10 kms from the latter. There are three 
temples in this village, namely, the Somesvara, Virabhadra and 
Mulasthanam Udaiyar temples. Of these, the Somesvara temple 
belongs to the Hoysala period. South of the Virabhadra temple, 



324 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


there is an inscribed stone containing a long record dated in the 
thirty-first regnal year of Rajendra I. We learn from it that a 
temple, merely termed that of Mulasthanam Udaiyar, was 
constructed by one Gundabbe, wife of Marayya Setti, in the 
village of Srotriyur, in the year a.d. 1043. Their son Devayya 
Setti is also said to have made extensive grants for the temple 
and for services to the deity as well as to the Isana Isvaram Udai- 
yar(?) of the same village (EC, IV, My., Nanjangud 164). 

NANDIGUNDA 

78 MALLESVARA TEMPLE 

Nandigunda, also in Mysore district, is about three kms from 
the Narasambhudi cross-roads, which is itself six kms from 
Nanjangud. There is a small temple here dedicated to Malladeva 
or Mallesvara. On a stone lying in front of this temple, there is 
an inscription of the days of Rajendra I dated in Saka 943 (a.d. 
1021), beginning with the usual introduction of tirumami 
valara. According to it, one Malla Gavunda of Nandigunda in 
Maisur nad, along with Eremma and Kumbhayya, set up the 
deity of Mallesvara and he also made a land-grant to the temple. 
This temple must thus have come into existence sometime before 
a.d. 1021. 

CHIKKA HANSOGE 

79 JINA BASTI (RAJENDRASOLA JINALAYAM) 

The small village of Chikka Hansoge in Yedatore taluk, 
Mysore district was an important Jaina centre in the past. Of the 
many Jina temples in the area, we are here concerned only with 
the one called the Jina basti [basti— temple). Above its 
doorway, there are two short inscriptions in Grantha and Tamil 
characters, running as follows (EC, V, My, Yedatore, 21 & 22): 
“Sri Rajendra Cholan... Jinalayam desigganam basadi 
pustaka-gachcham” , 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA i’s TIME 


325 


and 

“Sri Vira Rajendra Nanni Changalva Devarmmadisiddha 
pustaka-gachchada basadi.” 

These lead us to infer that this Jaina temple was built during 
the reign of Rajendra I and that a local chief named Vira Rajen- 
dra Nanni Changalva deva (caused to be) built the pustaka- 
gachcha in the basadi ( basti ). 

The same chief also erected another Jina temple, according 
to another inscription. It thus appears that this area was a strong 
Jaina centre even as late as the twelfth century a.d. 

KALIDINDI 

(i) RAJARAJESVARAM 80 

(ii) UTTAMA-CHODA-CHODAKON TEMPLE 

(iii) UTTAMA-CHODA-MILADUDAIYAN TEMPLE 

The village of Kalidindi which continues to bear its ancient 
name, is situated on the eastern fringe of the Colair (Kolleru) 
lake in the Kaikalur taluk of Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh 
and is not more than 80 kms (50 miles) from Vijayawada-on- 
Krishna. 

Three temples were built in this village in memory of three 
famous Chola generals sent by the Chola emperor Rajendra I 
to the assistance of the Vengi ruler and Viceroy to defend the 
province from the intrusions of the Western Chalukyas. A fund 
of information about these temples and the circumstances under 
which they came to be built is furnished by the Kalidindi grant 
(El, XXIX, Pt III, July 1951, pp. 57-61) of the Eastern Chaluk- 
yan ruler Rajaraja I (Saka 944= a.d. 1022), son of Vimaladitya, 
whose marriage with Kundavai, the sister of Rajendra I, is 
mentioned in the plates. The son of this wedlock Rajaraja, 
“while still a boy, was invested with the necklace ( kanthika ), 
the insignia of the office of Yuvaraja” and “his uncle, the Chola 
emperor Rajendra Choda Madhurantaka, having heard of his 
great qualities bestowed on him with affection the hand of his 
daughter Ammanga who became his chief queen.” Rajaraja I 



326 MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 

ruled over Vengi for over forty years, the date of accession of 
his nephew and successor Saktivarman II being a.d. 1061. 
The pattern of intermarriage ran over three generations: Raja- 
raja I gave his daughter Kundavai in marriage to the Vengi 
ruler Vimaladitya; Rajendra I gave his daughter Ammanga 
in marriage to Vimaladitya’s son Rajaraja I (of Vengi); and 
Rajendra II gave his daughter Madhurantaki in marriage to 
Vengi Rajaraja I’s son Rajendra who later on ascended the 
Chola throne as Kulottunga I in a.d. 1070. In these repeated 
alliances, the Chola rulers sought to provide a permanent bond 
by which Vengi might be attached to their kingdom as an integral 
part. 

The circumstances under which these generals fought and 
died are not clearly brought out in the plates. From a Western 
Chalukya record at Hottur in the old Mysore region of Karnataka 
State dated Saka 929 (a.d. 1007) we get the name of a Dandana- 
yaka of the Western Chalukyan king Jayasimha II, named 
Chavanarasa, who bore the title of “the destroyer of the pride 
of the fort of Bijavadi”; we may reasonably identify Bijavadi 
with Vijayawada of the present day, and thus the Karnataka 
invasion of Andhra (i.e. Vengi) and the battle mentioned in the 
Kalidindi plates might have taken place during the same Western 
Chalukyan expedition under Chavanarasa, particularly when 
we keep in mind that Kalidindi is not more 80 kms (50 miles) 
from Vijayawada; presumably the combined forces of Vengi 
and the Cholas were worsted or the engagement was indecisive; 
of this we get indirect confirmation from the fact of Rajaraja I 
(of Vengi) being deprived of the Vengi throne in a.d. 1031 by 
his step-brother and rival Vijayaditya VII. Possibly, the Western 
Chalukyas supported the cause of Vijayaditya and the Cholas 
that of Rajaraja I. We may presume with some reason that the 
battle was fought in or near Kalidindi itself and that the memorial 
temples were built near where the generals fought and fell. 

From the Plates we come to know that “the general Rajaraja 
Brahma-maharaja rose to eminence by the grace of king Rajendra 
Chola Madhurantaka and guarded his kingdom like a serpent pro- 
tecting hidden treasure. No sooner did he receive the orders of his 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA i’s TIME 


327 


sovereign, than he marched into the Andhra country at the head of 
a vast army, accompanied by two other generals, Uttama Choda 
Chodakon and Uttama Choda Miladudaiyan. The three Tamil 
generals, who were like the three (Vedic) fires bent upon the 
destruction of the forest which was the Karnataka army, became 
engaged in a fierce battle with the commanders of the king of 
Karnataka.” The battle between the two armies is described 
vividly in the Plates (lines 85-93). The engagement, however, 
seems to have been indecisive or at any rate did not result in 
a victory for the Chola forces ; for it is said that the commanders 
of both the sides perished with their forces. 

It is in these circumstances that the Eastern Chalukyan 
Rajaraja I set up, in memory of Rajaraja Brahmamaharaja, a 
temple dedicated to Siva, called Rajarajesvaram in the village 
ofKalidindi. Two other Siva temples were also built, in memory 
of Uttama Chola Cholakon and Uttama Chola Miladudaiyan. 
The relevant portion of the record reads as follows : 

Kalidindi grame rajarajesvaram iti Sivayatanam akaravam: Uttama 

Sodach Chodagon iti Uttama Choda-Milad Udaiyan iti prasiddha- 

vanyav-api-chodisya Sivayatana-dvayam (karomi)” 

Not much is known of these generals who were killed in the 
battle. One of them, Uttama Chola Milaludaiyan figures as 
the ruler of the area now falling under the South Arcot district 
of Tamil Nadu as gleaned from a record of the fourth year of 
Rajendra I where he is spoken of as the Yadava Bhima of the 
Bhargava gotra; but nothing more is known about him. Of the 
other two, little is known. 

The provocation for the Kalidindi grant was the need to 
provide for the conduct of worship and services and the cele- 
bration of festivals in these three memorial temples. Three villages, 
Kalidindi, Kadaparru and Avakuru, all situated in the Pallau 
(lower) Gudravara vis hay a were granted by the Vengi ruler 
Rajaraja I in favour of these three temples. Provision was also 
made for the maintenance of a sala for feeding fifty students 
( Pampasach-chhatranam , fine 1 99) . The boundaries of Kalidindi are 
given in detail from which we gather that Kadaparru was 
contiguous to Kalidindi, and to its west. The boundaries of 



328 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


Avakuru are not definitely known, but since Kadaparru is given 
as one of the adjoining villages, the three villages must have been 
close to one another. Two of the three villages which form the 
object of the grant, Kalidindi and Avakuru, retain their names 
to the present day and as observed earlier, are situated in a 
south-easterly direction not far from the Colair lake in the Kaika- 
lur taluk of the Krishna district. The third village of Kadaparru 
cannot be traced in the present day records. Kalidindi and 
Kadaparru were clubbed together in the record and named 
Madhurantakanallur, after a surname of Rajendra I. 

Of the three temples, only one, the Rajarajesvaram, survives, 
even though in a dilapidated condition. It is in the vicinity of the 
village of Kalidindi and consists of a mere cella in laterite, with 
granite stone facing. Of the ardhamandapa only the plinth in 
granite remains. A nandi and a dvajastambha are in front of the 
shrine. A second temple is about three kms in a westerly direction, 
set amidst fields and has been rebuilt out of recognition in recent 
times. The third temple was not traceable. 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA i’s TIME 


329 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 
(A.D. 985-1070) 

HISTORIC AL. SURVEY 

Temples of Rajaraja Ps Time (A.D. 985-1014) 


Regnal Tear A.D. Name of the place and temple Inscriptional reference 


3 yr- 

988 

5 

Tiruchchengattangudi 

Ganapatisvarar 

58 of 1913 & 56 of 1913 

3 yr- 

988 

12 

Tirukkaravasal 

Kannayiranathar 

453 of 1908 

3 yr- 

988 

18 

Olagapuram 

Siva temple 

129 of 1919 

5 yr- 

990 

•5 

Tirurnangalam 

Parasuramesvaram 

250 of 1949-50 

7 yr. 

992 

4 

Alagadriputtur 

Svarnapurisvarar 

283 of 1905 

8 yr. 

993 

14 

Tirunedungalam 

Ganapati shrine 

683 of 1901 

10 yr. 

995 

22 

Emapperur 

Vedapurisvarar 

522 of 1921 

10 yr. 

995 

44 

Tiruppudaimarudil 

Narumbunadar 

123 of 1905 

1 1 yr. 

996 

47 

Tiruvalisvaram 

Tiruvalisvarar 

1 16-1 19 of 1905 

12 yr. 

997 

6 

Tiruviramesvaram 

Ramanadeesvaram 

1 19-1920 of 1901 

13 yr. 

998 

7 

Tirukkadaiyur 

Amritaghatesvarar 

242 of 1925 



330 

Regnal Year 


A.D. 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


Name of the place and temple Inscriptional reference 


14 yr. 

999 

33 

Kalakkattur 

Agnisvarar 

127 of 1923 

15 yr. 

1000 

20 

Agaram 

Abhiramesvarar 

369 of 1922 

15 yr- 

1000 

53 

Malur 

Kailasanathar 

EC, IV, CN, 92 

16 yr. 

1001 

8 

Tiruppugalur 

Konapiran 

47 of 1927-28 

16 yr. 

100 1 

17 

Marakkanam 

Bhumisvarar 

23 of 1919 

16 yr. 

1001 

28 

Tiruvakkarai 

Sivalokanathar 

200 of 1904 

18 yr. 

1003 

45 

Ambasamudram 

Erichcha Udaiyar 

98 of 1907 

18 yr. 

1003 

3i 

Arpakkam 

Adikesava Perumal 

139 of 1923 

19 yr- 

to 

25 yr. 

1004 

to 

1010 

1 

Tanjavur 

Rajarajesvaram 

SII, II, 1 

21 yr. 

1006 

2 

Tiruvaiyaru 

Vadakailasam 

SII, V, 517 

21 yr. 

1006 

10 

Nagapattinam 

Chulamani Viharam 

E.I.XXII 

2i yr. 

1006 

35 

Tirumalai 

Kundavai Jinalaya 

SII, I, 66 

21 yr. 

1006 

26, 27 

Dadapuram 

Siva and Vishnu temples 

8 & 17 of 1929 

Lalit Kala Nos 15 & 14 



TEMPLES OF RAJENDRA I’s TIME 


331 


Regnal Year 
21-23 yr. 

22 yr. 

23 yr. 

24 yr. 

24 yr. 

& 

25 yr- 

25 yr. 

26 yr. 

26 yr. 

27 yr. 

28 yr. 

29 yr. 

29 yr. 


A.D. Name of the place and temple 


1006 

to 

1008 


1007 


1008 


1009 


1009 
& 

1010 

1010 


IOI I 


IOII 


1012 


IOI3 


1014 


IOI4 


37 

Attur 

Somanathisvarar 

& 

Pallikondar shrine 
13 

Narttamalai 

Ti mmalaikkadflm hnr 

52 

Malur Patna 

Jayangondasola 

Vinnagar 

41 

Seramadevi 
Ramasvami temple 

3 

Tiruvalanjuli 
Bhairavar temple 

9 

Nagapattinam 

Nagaikkaronam 

21 

Mambakkam 

Murugesvarasvamin 

39 

Gangaikondan 
Kailasapari temple 

32 

Solapuram 

Rajarajisvaram 

42 

Seramadevi 

Ammanathesvarar 

34 

Sengunram 

Jayangonda Cholisvaram 

36 

Melpadi 

Arinji (gai) -is varam 


Inscriptional reference 


388 of 1929-30 
4:5 of 1929-30 


Pudukkottai Insc. No. 91 


E.C. IV, CN 129 
513 of 1911 and 
E.C. IV CN. 132 

1 80 of 1895 


SII, VIII, 234 


165 of 1956-7 


19 of 1934-5 

160 of 1895 
SII, V, 724 

SII, VIII, 7 (421 of 
1902) 

192 of 1895 

149 of 1921 

86 of 1889 




332 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


HISTORICAL SURVEY 

Temples of Rajendra I (a.d. 1012-1044) 


Regnal Tear 

A.D. 

Name of the place and temple 

Jnscriptional reference 

2 yr. to 

IOI4 

58 


6 yr. 

to 

1018 

Tiruppattur (Tiruppidavur) 
Ayyanarkoyil 

587 of 1908 (6 yr.) 

3 Y r - 

1015 

57 

Uttattur 

Siddharatnesvarar 

515 of 1912 

7 yr- 

1019 

62 

Ramanathan koyil 

Panchavan Madevi Isvaram 

27: of 1927 

8yr. 

8 yr.to 

1020 

69 

Agaram (Chingleput) 
Kailasanathar 

75 

232 of 1930-31 

22 yr. 

1020 to 

Kolar 

E.C.X. KC 1 08 


1034 

Kolaramma temple 

(106, b, c, d; 

112a and 111) 

9 yr. 

1021 

76 

Belaturu 

Banes vara 

(E.C. IV, Pt. II, Mys., 16) 

9 yr. 

1021 

78 



(Saka 943) 

Nandigonda 

Mallesvara 

E.C. V 

10 yr. 

1022 

(Saka 944) 

80 

Kalidindi 

Memorial temples 

E.I. XXIX, Pt 3 

12 yr. 

1024 

74 

Sitibeta 

Bhairavar temple 

(E.C.X KL44) 

14 yr. 

70 d. 

1026 

61 

Tirumaluvadi 

Vaidyanathasvamin 

(rebuilt) 

91 of 1895 

cc 

1030 

64 

Tiruvarur (3-20 yrl 
Thyagaraja 

680 of 1919 
(18 yr., iggd.) 


Regnal Tear 


22 yr. 


24 yr. 


3 1 yr- 


temples of rajendra i’s time 333 

A.D. Name of the place and temple Inscriptional reference 


1034 


1036 


1043 


72 

Kulambandal 

Gangaikondasolisvaram 

73 

Mannarkoyil 

Gopalasvamin 

77 

Suttur 

Mulasthana udayar 

63 

Tiruvaiyaru 

Tenkailasam 

7i 

Tiruvorriyur 

Adipurisvarar 

56 

Gangaikondasolisvaram 


414 of 1902 
(SII, VII, 1047) 

1 12 of 195 


E.G. Mys. 

Nanjangud Tlk., 164 


NB: Battle of Hottur — 1007 a.d. (Rajendra as Yuvaraja) 



5 


Successors of Rajendra I 

(A.D. 1018 to 1070) 


(i) Rajadhiraja I 

(a.d. 1018-1054) 

Rajadhiraja I was the eldest son. of Rajendra I and was bom 
under the star Pusam or Puna Phalguni. From a.d. 1018 till 
his father’s death, he served as Tuvaraja and won for his father 
many a battle ; in turn he associated his younger brother Rajendra- 
deva (II) as his co-regent for two years prior to his own death 
in a.d. 1054. His inscriptions begin with the historical intro- 
duction “tingaler peruvalar tingaler taru tirukkodiyodu thyagak-kodiyum ” . 
Soon after his accession, he had to engage himself in putting down 
the rebellion in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) . The strength of the Chola 
army in the island at this time was about 95,000; between a.d. 
1017 and 1029, Vikramabahu, the Sri Lanka king, was the 
leader of this revolt. Several wars were fought in the south-eastern 
part of the island and the Lanka rulers were helped by certain 
North Indian princes from Ayodhya and Kanauj. Though the 
Cholas were successful, the war went on till Kitti alias Vijaya 
made himself the leader of the freedom movement and ultimately 
succeeded in overthrowing the Cholas about the time of Kulot- 
tunga Fs accession in a.d. 1070. 

On the north-western boundary too, the Western Chalukyas 
were restive. Between a.d. 1044 and 1054, the Chola army invaded 
the Western Chalukyan kingdom, destroyed the palace at Kampili, 



SUCCESSORS OF RAJENDRA I 


335 


sacked the city of Pundur on the left bank of the river Kris hna , 
defeated and took prisoner several vassals of the Western Chaluk- 
yan ruler Ahavamalla Somesvara I and set up a pillar of victory 
with the tiger crest; then the victorious Chola army marched to 
the capital city of Kalyanapura, sacked the city and there Rajadhi- 
raja I celebrated his virabhisheka assuming the title of “ Vijaya 
Rajendradeva” . It was on this occasion that a sculpture of a dvara- 
pala belonging to Kalyani (Kalyanapura) was taken away from 
there as a war trophy; the sculpture bears the inscription: “Svasti 
Sri Udaiyar Sri Vijaya Rajendradevar Kalyanapuram erittu kodu- 
vanda dvarapalakar” . This trophy brought by the king was found 
till recently in the front platform of the eastern gopuram of the 
Airavatesvarar temple at Darasuram: it has since been removed 
to the Art Gallery at Tanjavur. An incorrect and thoroughly 
distorted and confused picture of this event is given by H. Goetz 
in his book India (pp. 173-176 — Art of the World Series). He 
states: “Only the temple of Darasuram forms an exception to 
some degree. But it had been erected to house an idol looted 
by prince Vijayarajendra after the victory of Rajadhiraja I over 
Somesvara I Ahavamalla from the Western Chalukyan capital 
of Kalyanapuram (Kalyani) and it was therefore decorated with 
relics of Western Chalukyan style, and even some original dvara- 
pala statues from the destroyed enemy temple.” It is obvious that 
Goetz has very little knowledge of South Indian History and Art. 

Vijayarajendra was only a title of Rajadhiraja I, which he 
assumed after his sack of Kalyanapura and the celebration of his 
victory there. He belonged to the first half of the eleventh century 
(a.d. 1018-54). The Darasuram temple was a Later Chola temple 
built in the second half of the twelfth century by Rajaraja II 
(a.d. 1 146-73), more than a hundred years later. It is therefore 
wrong to state that this temple “houses an idol looted from 
Kalyanapura” and that it was decorated with “relics of Western 
Chalukyan style”. What ignorance and distortion of facts! 

On his return to Gangapuri, the capital, Rajadhiraja I per- 
formed an asvamedha yajna. 

In the fourth year of Rajendradeva II, there is a reference 
to a fierce battle fought at Koppam between the Cholas and the 



336 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


Western Chalukyas; and the Chola king Rajadhiraja I, helped 
by his brother Rajendradeva, led the battle. The king was in the 
thick of the fight, leading the battle himself, and made a great 
advance against the Chalukyan forces. From inscriptional 
material, it is gathered that the Chalukyan forces concentrated 
on the elephant carrying the king; the enemy’s arrow struck the 
head of the royal elephant and the king himself was wounded 
mortally; he succumbed to the injuries and, as the inscription 
euphemistically puts it, he “went up into the sky and became a 
sojourner in the land of Indra, where he was welcomed by the 
celestial nymphs”. The Chalukyan army, jubilant over the fall 
of the Chola king, redoubled its assault on the Chola army; it 
was at this perilous hour for his side that the undaunted Rajendra- 
deva entered the thick of the battle and turned what would have 
been a tragic rout into a resounding victory; he mounted an 
elephant and plunged into battle, gathering the Chola army in 
disarray into a powerful phalanx; and, despite his being wounded 
in the thigh and shoulders and his elephant’s forehead being 
pierced by the enemy’s arrows, he killed many Chalukyan 
Generals on the battlefield, including Jayasimha, brother of 
Ahavamalla, and, with his wounds still fresh, crowned himself 
emperor on the battlefield — a most unusual coronation indeed! 
He set up a jayastambha at Kollapuram (Kolhapur) and returned 
triumphantly to Gangapuri, the capital. 

In many ways, Rajadhiraja I holds a unique position in 
Chola military history; commencing his career as a General 
even in the days of his grandfather, he had distinguished himself 
in many a battle against the Cheras, the Pandyas, the Ceylonese 
and the Western Chalukyas, in a manner equalled by few others 
even among the mighty Chola race. After his long and dis- 
tinguished military career of about fifty years, it almost seems 
apt that he should have crowned it with a heroic death on the 
battlefield. 

In spite of his being almost constantly engaged in wars, 
he seems to have found time for benefactions to temples in the 
later years of his reign. We have already referred to a twenty- 
seventh year record of his at Tiruvarur, making provision for 



SUCCESSORS OF RAJENDRA I 


337 


offerings to the images of his father and Anukkiyar Paravai 
Nangaiyar, and to a 31st year record at the same place, ordering 
the erection of a golden pavilion for Vithi Vitanka devar. A 
record of his twenty-ninth year at Tiruvenkadu (ARE 114 of 
1896: SII, V, 978) mentions his gift of some land as tax-free 
devadana to an Ardhanarisvarar image (Pis 350 and 351) in the 
temple of Tiruvenkadu Udaiyar; the order was issued when he was 
seated (on the sopana in the north wing of the Gangaikondasolan 
maligai in the palace at the capital. In his thirty-fifth year, the village 
of Tiruvadandai was given as a devadana to the Varaha temple 
(of Mahavishnu) in the village, and the income from certain 
dues ordered to be spent on a festival every month on the day 
of his asterism, Purva Phalguni (ARE 258 of 1910: also see Early 
Chola Temples , pp. 203-7) • ^e same year, land for the wages 
of two gardeners, entrusted with a flower-garden in his name, 
was gifted to the Tirukkolambiyur temple (ARE 45 of 1925). 
Again in the same year, the village called Sarvatirthanallur was 
granted as a tax-free devadana for worship and offerings to the 
temple of Sarvatirtham Udaiya Mahadevar at Kanchipuram by 
the king, seated on the throne called Pallavaraiyan in the western 
outer mandapam of his palace at Gangaikondasolapuram (ARE 
420 of 1925). The most important cultural event of his reign was 
the setting up of a Vedic college at Tribhuvani, in his thirtieth 
year. (PI 349, Tiruvenkadu : Bhikshatanar) . 

(2) Rajendra Deva II 

(a.d. 1052-64) 

Rajendra deva II was (also) a great hero, who turned the 
impending rout and disaster at Koppam into a great victory 
and crowned himself emperor on the battlefield. Jayangondar’s 
Kalingattupparani describes this coronation thus: “ Koppaiyir peru 
kalattiley mudi kavittavan” . After this victory, he carried a huge 
booty including the Chalukyan queens, the royal treasures, 
elephants and horses of the Western Chalukyas to his palace at 
Gangapuri, where he celebrated a virabhishekam . His prasastis 



338 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


start with one of three historical introductions. One of these begins 
with “ Irattaipadi elarai ilakkamum kondu ” and mentions his con- 
quest of Kollapuram and the erection of a pillar of victory there. 
The other two historical introductions begin with “tirumagal 
maruviya sengol vendan ” and “tiru madu puviyenum ” . 

According to the Muvar ula (Vikrama Cholan Ula, stanza 
20), he captured a thousand elephants of the Chalukyas at 
Koppam with the help of the single elephant he rode: 

"... parr alar ai veppat tadugalattu vezhanga laayiramum koppat 
torugalirraar kondonum ” . 

The most important event of his reign was the continuing 
war with the Western Chalukyas. An engagement took place 
at Mudakkaru (winding river) sometime before his ninth regnal 
year (a.d. 1061) and it appears that the king himself, Raja 
Mahendra the heir-apparent, and the king’s brother Vira Rajen- 
dra all participated in it. The Chalukyas were again defeated. 

The marital relations between the Vengi and the Tanjavur 
houses were further strengthened, by the marriage of Rajendra 
deva IPs daughter Madhurantaki to the son of Rajaraja Narendra 
of the Eastern Chalukyas, viz., Rajendra II or Rajiga who later 
on ascended the Chola throne with the title of Kulottunga (I) 
in a.d. 1070 (See genealogical table below). 

Rajendra deva II made an endowment, yielding 120 kalams 
of paddy, for the enacting of the drama “Rajarajesvara nata- 
kam” at the Sri Rajarajesvaram temple at Tanjavur (sixth 
year, ARE 55 of 1893; SII, II, 67): this drama was possibly 
a depiction of the glory of the temple of the Rajarajesvaram. 
The royal order was issued to provide a tuni of paddy daily to 
Santik-Kuttan Tiruvalan Vijayarajendra Acharyan and his 
descendants, for staging the Natakam during the great Vaigasi 
festival of the Lord. The annual allowance of 120 kalams of paddy 
was to be given out of the temple treasury. 

During his days, one of his local feudatories, Miladudaiya 
Narasingapanmar, rebuilt of stone the Ulagalanda Perumal 
temple at Tirukkovalur. 



SUCCESSORS OF RAJENDRA I 339 

Cholas of Tanjavur Eastern Ghalukyas of Vengi 

1 n 

Kundavai (Sr) Rajaraja I 

I 

I I. 

Rajendra I Kundavai (Jr) = Vimaladitya— Medeva 

| Mahadevi 

I (also a Chola 

princess) 

Rajendra Deva II Ammanga= Rajaraja Vijayaditya VII 

devi | Narendra 

~ I I 

Madhurantaki= Rajendra II (Chalukya) 

(Kulottunga Chola I) 

R aj asundari = Raj araj a (Eastern Ganga) 

There are some interesting references to the various royal 
relatives who held high posts under Rajendra deva II. There were 
as many as thirteen — a paternal uncle, four younger brothers, six 
sons and two grandsons. They were provincial governors among 
others and held such titles as Ghola-Pandyan, Chola-Gangan etc. 

(3) Raja Mahendra 

(a.d. 1060-63) 

Raja Mahendra, the heir-apparent of Rajendra deva II, 
appears to have died even during his father’s lifetime. He is said 
to have made a gift of a jewel to Lord Ranganatha at Srirangam 
as also a “serpent-bed” studded with precious stones; one of the 
streets of that town was also named after him as Raja Mahendran 
Tiruvidi. His participation in the campaign against the Western 
Ghalukyas has already been mentioned. 

His prasasti commences with “tirumagal vilanga virunila madan- 
daiyai 



340 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


(4) Vira Rajendra 

(a.d. 1062-1070) 

Vira Rajendra, also known as Vira Chola, ascended the 
throne in a.d. 1062-63 in succession to his brother Rajendra 
deva II, since the latter’s son Raja Mahendra had pre-deceased 
his father. His natal star was Aslesha ( Ayilyam ). It appears that 
the Western Chalukyas had become an obsession with the Cholas 
and it is a strange fact of history that all the three sons of Rajendra I 
were preoccupied most of the time in containing this powerful 
enemy' the death of Rajadhiraja I in battle and the bitter memory 
of Rajendradeva II having had to crown himself on the battle- 
field of Koppam would seem to have haunted the Cholas for 
years. Hardly had Vira Rajendra been on the throne when the 
Western Chalukya Somes vara I challenged his authority, and 
there were as many as five bitter engagements between them 
(“ ahavamallanai aiymmadi ven-kandu ” — SII, VII, 887). In the first 
engagement, which occurred immediately after his coronation, 
Vira Rajendra defeated Vikramaditya, the younger son of 
Somesvara I and drove him across the Tungabhadra. The second 
engagement was brought about by an attempt of the Western 
Chalukyas to overrun the Eastern Chalukya territory of Vengi ; 
coming to know that a large army of the Western Chalukyas under 
the command of Mahadandanayaka Chamundarayan, the 
Viceroy at Vanavasi, had been despatched with the above 
purpose, Vira Rajendra intercepted him in Vengi nadu and 
saved Vengi for the Eastern Chalukyas, killing Chamundaraya 
in the process. The third battle fought at Kudal Sangamam 
was a real trial of strength (a.d. 1064), but the Chalukyas were 
again routed. The fourth engagement took place on the banks of 
the Tungabhadra (possibly also at Kudal Sangamam) in a.d. 
1066. Again, the Chalukyan army was badly mauled, and seven 
Chalukyan Generals and their allies, the kings of the Gangas, 
the Nolambas, the Kadavas and the Vaidumbas, all suffered 
decapitation. This disgraceful defeat infuriated Somesvara I to 
such an extent that he threw a written challenge to Vira Rajendra 



SUCCESSORS OF RAJENDRA I 


341 


to engage him in battle again at the same place on a specified date, 
adding that “whoever did not come to the appointed field through 
fear should thereafter be no king but an outcaste”. Vira Rajendra 
appears to have jumped at this challenge and marched for the 
Tungabhadra banks and set up camp there one month ahead of 
the scheduled date, at Kandai (Karandai?) near Kudal (-Sanga- 
mam) and waited for the enemy. For reasons not clear, the enemy 
army did not turn up at all on the appointed date. (One version 
is that Somesvara I became critically ill, having been suddenly 
afflicted by an incurable disease, and met his death through a 
“ceremonial drowning” in the river Tungabhadra). After waiting 
in vain for a few more days, Vira Rajendra returned home via 
Vengi, subduing on the way the Rattaipadi region, putting to 
flight the local Chalukyan Chieftains Devanatha, Sitti and Kesi, 
setting fire to towns and erecting a pillar of victory on the banks 
of the Tungabhadra. Before leaving the Tungabhadra region, 
however, he threw a challenge to the Western Chalukyas, stating 
that he was returning home after clearing Vengi nadu of their 
overlordship and challenging them to restore it if they could. 
The Western Chalukya generals, Jananatha, Rajamayan and 
Tipparaja intercepted the Chola army on the banks of the 
Krishna at Vijayavada, but were defeated and “driven into 
the forest”. Vira Rajendra crowned the Eastern Chalukya 
Vijayaditya (VII), who had sought his protection, as the king 
of Vengi and after crossing the Godavari into Kalinga and reach- 
ing as far as Mahendragiri returned home victorious. 

Before adverting to his other wars and conquests, it may be 
well to narrate the further developments in the Chola- Western 
Chalukya relations. After some continued bitterness and wars, 
a major turn for the better took place in the form of a matrimonial 
alliance between the two royal families. With the death of Some- 
svara I in a.d. 1068, his son Somesvara II ascended the Western 
Chalukya throne, but soon fell into evil courses; his brother 
Vikramaditya quarrelled with him and left Kalyani (the capital) ; 
Vikramaditya was supported by the Kadamba ruler Jayakesi 
and his own younger brother Jayasimha. Jayakesi offered his 
good offices to bring about a rapprochement between the Cholas 



342 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


and Prince Vikramaditya, leading to the intervention of Vira 
Rajendra on his behalf; a lightning campaign into the southern 
part of the Western Chalukya country followed. 

The inscriptions of Somesvara II claim that Vira Rajendra 
suffered utter defeat at Gutti (in modern Anantapur district, 
A.P.), while the latter’s inscriptions claim that he destroyed 
Kampili(nagara), laid siege to Gutti, and set up a pillar of 
victory at Karadikkal, and that he drove Somesvara II out of 
the region of Irattapadi and the “land of seven and a half lakhs” 
and bestowed the Kannada country on Vikramaditya (SII, 
III, 83 and 84). 

Somesvara II had to part with that part of the empire, 
forcibly taken by Vikramaditya. Even this turned out to be a 
short-lived arrangement, Vikramaditya becoming the undisputed 
ruler of the whole kingdom after driving out Somesvara II from 
Kalyani. Capping all these diplomatic and maritial moves, Vira 
Rajendra gave his daughter in marriage to Vikramaditya and 
this brought peace to the borders between their kingdoms which 
had seen some of the bloodiest wars of South Indian history. 

We may now turn to his other exploits. In his fifth regnal 
year (El, XXI, 38), King Vijayabahu ruling over the south- 
eastern part of the island of Sri Lanka known as Rohana — the 
only portion of the island not yet brought under Chola rule — 
tried to seize the rest of the island ; this threat was met promptly 
by Vira Rajendra, who compelled Vijayabahu, with the help of 
an overwhelming force, to take to the forest. This was the last 
of the Chola victories in the island; Vijayabahu lay low biding 
his time, which was soon to come; the disturbed period following 
the death of Adhi Rajendra after a few years, led to the Cholas 
being thrown out of the island altogether. 

We gather from a record of the 7th year (175 of 1894; 266 of 
1901; SII, III, 84) that the ruler of Kedah sought succour from 
the Chola ruler, presumably having been driven out of his 
kingdom of Sri Vijaya by his enemies. In a.d. 1068, Vira 
Rajendra had his kingdom restored to him. The prasasti says of 
this episode: “tan-kalaladainda mannavarkku Kadaram erindu kodut- 
taruli” (SII, V, 468; El, XXV, p. 263). 


SUCCESSORS OF RAJENDRA I 


343 


Vira Rajendra’s prasastis — particularly the longer ones — 
begin with “tiruvalar tiral puyattu” ; another opening, used in 
shorter prasastis , is “ viramey tunaiyagavum thyagamey aniyagavum” . 

He was known by many names, among which are: Sakala- 
bhuvanasraya, Medini-vallabha, Maharajadhiraja, Ahavamalla- 
kula-kala, Vira Chola, Rajasraya, Karikala, Rajarajendra, 
Vallabha-vallabha and Pandya-kulantaka. 

The preoccupation with the Chalukyan wars did not in any 
way interfere with the smooth running of the administration of 
the empire, its principalities and the local self-governing units. 
His Kanyakumari inscription claims that Vira Rajendra donated 
a ruby for the crown, known as trailokyasara, to adorn Nataraja, 
the Lord of Chidambaram; the same inscription also mentions 
that he granted brahmadeya lands to as many as 40,000 Vedic 
scholars scattered over the Chola, Pandya, Tondai, Ganga and 
Kulutha provinces of the empire. From another inscription (El, 
XXI, 38, line 7), we learn that Vira Rajendra ruled his empire 
from a throne known by the name of “Rajendra Chola Mavali 
Vanarayan” set up in the royal palace known as “Chola-Keralan 
Maligai” at Gangapuri. 

From an inscription of the fifth regnal year of Vira Rajendra 
in the Venkatesa Perumal temple at Tirumukkudal situated at 
the tri-junction of the rivers Palar, Vegavati and Cheyyar, we 
learn of the existence of a Vedic college with an attached hostel 
and a hospital (atular-salai) . This inscription, which is perhaps 
the longest single document in our recorded history, refers to 
gifts for the maintenance of these institutions and also for the 
provision of temple-services including food-offerings, celebration 
of festivals, feeding of pilgrims going to Tirupati, the recitation 
of the Tiruvoymoli, and the repair and maintenance of the temple 
( pudukkuppuram ) . 

The Vedic college provided for the teaching of the Rig and 
Tajur vedas, Rupavatara, and certain agamas and tantras. The 
hostel catered for sixty students daily. These benefactions are fully 
dealt with in the section on the Venkatesa Perumal temple at 
Tirumukkudal in the next chapter. 

One of the royal executives by name Rajendra Muvendavelan 



344 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


built of stone a shrine for Padambakka Nathar at Tiruvorriyur 
and endowed it with a flower garden known by the name of 
Vira Rajendran Tiru JVandavanam. 

Another of the royal officers, Sivalokan, son of Tiruvenkattu 
Nangai, endowed liberally the temple of Tiruvenkattup-Peruman 
for the provision of milk and honey abhisheka (ceremonial bath) 
and for feeding sivayogins on all days when Aslesha, Yira Rajendra’s 
natal star, was in the ascendant. He also endowed a stone pitham 
for the deity in the Karanai-Vitankar shrine in the Adipurisvarar 
temple at Tiruvorriyur and named it “Vira Rajendran”. 

(5) Adhi Rajendra 

(a.d. 1069-70) 

Vira Rajendra died perhaps at the beginning of a.d. 1070, 
and was succeeded by his son, Adhi Rajendra; but soon, there 
followed a period of political instability and confusion, which was 
happily brief. Adhi Rajendra’s rule did not last long; his pre- 
mature death in the same year, the intervention in vain of the 
Western Chalukyan ruler, and the emergence of a brilliant leader, 
the grandson of the illustrious Rajendra I and heir to the Vengi 
throne of the Eastern Chalukyas who later on came to be 
known as Kulottunga I, need not detain us here. Kulottunga I’s 
accession to the Chola throne brought about the unification of 
the two kingdoms under one umbrella and the ushering in of 
another brilliant chapter of Chola greatness lasting for a further 
period of more than two hundred years. 



6 


Temples of the Time of the 
Successors of Rajendra I 


(A) RAJADfflRAJA I 


TRIBHUVANI 

KANDAMANGALAM VISHNU TEMPLE 81 

TIRUVANDARKOYIL PANCHANADISVARAR 

TEMPLE 82 

TRIBHUVANI VARADARAJA PERUMAL TEMPLE 
(NADUVIL VIRANARAYANA VINNAGAR) 83 

Tribhuvani (or Tribhuvanai) is a village in the Union Terri- 
tory of Pondicherry (Puduchcheri: Early Chola Art, I, pp. 83-85), 
20 kms from Pondicherry on the road to Villupuram. It was once 
the headquarters of a city-complex called the taniyur of Tri- 
bhuvana-mahadevi chaturvedimangalam. This taniyur included 
the modern Tribhuvani village itself and the following present- 
day villages (among others) : Kandamangalam, Tiruvandarkoyil 
(Vadugur) and Tirukkanji. 

81. Kandamangalam : In this village, 4 kms east of Tribhuvani, 
there is a ruined Vishnu temple. On its south wall, there is an 
inscription of the nth regnal year of Rajaraja I (with the tiru- 
magal pola introduction). It refers to a lamp gift to the temple 
of Sentangi Vinnagar Paramasvamin at Tribhuvana-mahadevi 
chaturvedimangalam, a brahmadeya on the north bank of the river 



346 MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 

Tribhuvani (Pennar). This seems to be an original inscription, 
and this ruined temple is itself presumably the Sentangi Vinnagar 
of the inscription (ARE 353 of 1917). 

Two fragmentary inscriptions found on slabs and of the tenth 
year of Rajaraja I (ARE 356 of 1917) mention a gift of land to 
the temple of Sentangi Vinnagar Paramasvamin by the local 
assembly meeting in the tirukkavanam (hall) of the temple of 
Viranarayana Vinnagar at Tribhuvana-mahadevi chaturvedi- 
mangalam. Viranarayana is a title of Parantaka I and Tribhu- 
vana-mahadevi the name of a queen of his. The taniyur must 
have been named after her, and the Vishnu temple of Viranara- 
yana Vinnagar referred to above is the one at the modern town 
of Tribhuvani and must have been named after Parantaka I. 

Six inscribed slabs built into the walls of the Kandamangalam 
temple form an inscription of the twenty-sixth year of Rajaraja I 
(ARE 354 of 1917); it refers to a gift of land, constituted into 
an agrahara named after Tribhuvana-mahadevi, to the Vishnu 
temple called here Jaya(n)tangi Vinnagar (this must be the 
same as the Sentangi Vinnagar of the earlier inscriptions) and 
to a Siva temple called Sri Kailasam. 

Seven other slabs built into the walls of this temple form an 
inscription, again of the twenty-sixth year of Rajaraja I (ARE 
355 of 1917); it refers to a gift of land to Tiruvaippadi Alvar 
(Krishna), perhaps an image installed in the Tribhuvani temple, 
by the assembly of Tribhuvana-mahadevi chaturvedimangalam. This 
inscription also mentions a big irrigation tank in the area called 
Viranarayanap-pereri. * 

There are two other fragmentary inscriptions, of Rajendra I 
and Rajendra II (ARE 355 and 358 of 1917). 

Though the above facts throw no light on the date of the 
Vishnu temple of Sentangi Vinnagar at Kandamangalam it- 
self (except that it was in existence by the 1 ith year of Rajaraja I), 
we learn from them that: Kandamangalam was a hamlet of 
I ribhuvana-mahadevi chaturvedimangalam ; the original Vishnu 


*This is perhaps identical with the lake, now in disuse, lying at a distance of less than a 
kilometre to the west of the Vishnu temple at Tribhuvani. 



TEMPLES OF THE TIME OF THE SUCCESSORS OF RAJENDRA I 347 


temple at Tribhuvani must have existed as such from the days 
of Parantaka I to those of Rajaraja I (as we shall see below, 
it was renovated in the days of Rajendra I) ; and there was a 
big irrigation lake in the neighbourhood called Viranarayanap- 
pereri, which, like the Viranarayanan (modern Viranam) lake 
in South Arcot district and the Madhurantakam tank in Chingle- 
put district, must have been excavated by Parantaka I himself. 

82. Tiruvandarkoyil ( also called Vadugur ) : This is another hamlet 
of the same taniyur , a km east of Tribhuvani. There is an ancient 
Siva temple here sung by Sambandar, who calls its deity Tiru- 
Vadugur-nathar. It is also called Panchanadisvaram; some 
inscriptions refer to the Lord of this temple as Tiruvarai Nakkan 
koyil Paramasvamin and others as Tiruvaiyaru Udaiya Maha- 
devar (the Tamil equivalent of Panchanadisvarar) (see my Early 
Chola Temples , pp. 83-84). 

There are three Parakesari inscriptions here, of the fifteenth, 
sixteenth and fortieth years (ARE 366, 369 and 376 of 1917), all 
referring to the location of the temple as Tiruvandarkoyil in 
Tribhuvana-mahadevi chaturvedimangalam. We get confirmation 
of the conclusion that the taniyur was named after a queen 
of Parantaka I’s, since a Parakesari inscription of such a high 
regnal year as the fortieth necessarily belongs to Parantaka I, 
and it refers to the taniyur by the above name. (The other two 
Parakesari inscriptions have also to be ascribed to Parantaka I). 

There are four inscriptions of the days of Rajaraja I here. 
The earliest of them is of the fifth year and deals with certain 
transactions going back to the days of Parantaka I and the 
Rashtrakuta ruler Krishna III. The local Sabha had borrowed 
some silver vessels and gold from the temple, and some lands 
were given to the temple in lieu thereof, in the twenty-eighth 
year of Krishna III. The inscription makes mention incidentally 
of a gift of land made in the fourteenth year of Madiraikonda 
Parakesari, i.e., Parantaka I. The existence of this temple in his 
days and his political control over this region are again established 
(ARE 359 of 1917). 

There are two inscriptions of the twelfth year of Rajaraja I. 
One relates to a gift for offerings and lamps to the local temple 



348 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


by a native of Sikkil (ARE 364 of 1917). The other states that 
the assembly of Tribhuvana-mahadevi chaturvedimangalarn met 
in the mandapa built by one Mummudi-sola Umbalanatthu- 
velan and remitted the taxes on the hamlet of Mundiyan Vallaip- 
pakkam purchased by the same individual and given over to 
the temple (ARE 362 of 1917). 

Finally, an inscription of his twenty-seventh year mentions a 
gift of two lamps to the local deity (ARE 361 of 1917). We learn 
from it that Marudur alias Parakesarinallur was another hamlet, 
lying east, of the taniyur. 

From an inscription of the tenth year of Rajendra I, we 
learn that he built a palace at Madurai for the residence of his 
son appointed Chola-Pandya Viceroy there (ARE 363 of 19x7). 

An inscription of the twentieth year of Kulottunga I mentions 
a lamp-gift to “the temple of Tiruvaiyaru Udaiya Mahadevar” 
(this temple itself) by a brahmana lady of Virasikhamukhach- 
cheri alias Sattamangalam (ARE 365 of 1917). Two Vijayanagara 
inscriptions merit attention. One of Vira Bukkana Raya, in 
Saka 1328 (a.d. 1406) gives us a rare bit of information, namely, 
that the Sabha of the taniyur consisted of 4,000 members (ARE 
370 of 1917). The other is a record of a gift by the famous Krishna 
deva Raya in a.d. 1526. 

We thus obtain several valuable pieces of information from 
the inscriptions here concerning our mediaeval social and political 
institutions: and confirmation of the facts that a taniyur (despite 
the name) consisted of several hamlets, that the sabha of a 
taniyur met by turns in the temples of the various constituent 
hamlets, and that the sabha of this taniyur in particular comprised 
as many as 4,000 members (in the Vijayanagara days). 

Tirukkanji: The temple here is called that of Ganga Varahes- 
varasvamm. There are two inscriptions in it, of the fortieth and 
forty-fourth years of Kulottunga I (ARE 215 and 216 of 1919). 
According to the first, the tank of the taniyur became full and 
bleached its bunds in a storm. 4 he bunds were repaired, a stone 
levetment called after Kulottungasolan was constructed by one 
Bhutamangalam Udaiyan Orriyuran Bhupalasundaram alias 
Solakonar, and placed under the protection of the mahasabha. 



TEMPLES OF THE TIME OF THE SUCCESSORS OF RAJENDRA I 349 

The second mentions that the original gift of paddy for the 
maintenance of the tank got mixed up with the general dues of 
the Sabha, with the result that the maintenance of the tank came 
to be neglected. So the gift of paddy was changed to a gift of 
land for the same purpose. This demonstrates the periodical 
self-check exercised by the local bodies. 

83. Tribhuvani: In this village, which must have been the hub 
of the taniyur , there is an ancient Vishnu temple, now called the 
Varadaraja Perumal temple. From an inscription of the fifth 
year of Rajendra I (ARE 174 of 1919), we learn that it was 
called Naduvil Viranarayana Vinnagar at Tribhuvana-mahadevi 
chaturvedimangalam, a brahmadeya in Jayangondasola mandalam. 
Though this inscription, found on the east wall of the temple, is 
the earliest inscription on the walls here, the original foundation, 
as we have already seen, goes back to the days of Parantaka I. 

The earliest inscriptions in the premises of the Vishnu temple 
are two of Rajaraja I. Neither of them is on the body of the main 
temple. One, of his tenth year, relates to a gift of land for supply- 
ing water and for a lamp (ARE 196 of 1919); it is found on a 
slab built into the floor of a mandapa. The other, of his twelfth 
year, is highly damaged, and is found on a stone slab lying by the 
side of the same mandapa (ARE 21 1 of 1919). 

We may thus infer that the old foundation of the days of 
Parantaka I existed well into the reign of Rajaraja I, and the 
re-building took place between the twelfth year of Rajaraja I 
and the fifth year of Rajendra I. 

The fifth year inscription of Rajendra I further tells us that 
this temple was placed under the protection of two regiments, 
one of them called the Sri Vaduvur Tillaiyalip Perumpadai — 
reminiscent of Rajaraja I placing the Tiruvalisvaram temple 
under the protection of the Munru-kai Mahasenai. 

In two inscriptions of Rajendra I, of his tenth and sixteenth 
years (ARE 196 and 189 of 1919), we find mention of a big lake 
named Kokkilanadip-pereri.* [Kokkilanadigal was the name of 
a queen of Parantaka I’s (vide SII, XIX, 408).] 


*It is perhaps the lake on whose bund the Tiruvandarkoyil temple is situated. 



350 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


The same sixteenth year inscription mentions that Varakkur, 
a devadana village of the temple, was apportioned among 48 
tenants, and the village lands were divided into six divisions. 
The tenants were not to be subjected to any levies other than 
dues to the temple and the Kokkilanadip-pereri. 

In one of the other three inscriptions of the days of Rajendral, 
mention is made of a matha called the Rajendrasolan matham 
for feeding the Vaishnavas “of the eighteen districts” (a tradi- 
tional group of adjacent Vishnu temples and their followers) and 
of a grant of land made for its maintenance (ARE 187 of 1919). 

There are four inscriptions of Rajadhirajal. The most import- 
ant of them is the one of his thirtieth regnal year (ARE 176 
of 1919), inscribed on the east, north and west walls of the temple. 
A charity named Rajendrasolan Uttamagram was instituted to 
secure the health of the king (Rajendra I). Perhaps, it was 
instituted in about a.d. 1044, the final year of the life and reign 
of Rajendra I, but recorded four years later in a.d. 1048 here 
(See Note 1). 

The endowment consisted of a gift of 72 veils of land yielding 
an annual rental of 12,000 kalams of paddy. The grant provided 
for offerings and worship on a grand scale ( uttamagram ) to the 
deities of Virrirunda Perumal (of the mulasthana), Alagiya 
Manavalar and Narasinga Alvar, for the conduct of festivals, 
for the recitation of Tiruvoymoli, and for the maintenance of a 
Vedic college (including the feeding of twelve teachers and 260 
students). We recall the endowment of such an institution of 
higher learning at Ennayiram by Rajendra I. (We refer for details 
on the Uttamagram to Note I at the end of this section.) 

An inscription of the thirty-fifth year (93rd day) gives him 
the title of Vijayarajendra deva and records a gift of land to the 
Alvar of Iiruvay(h)indrapuram (modern Tiruvendipuram near 
Cuddalore : ARE 188 of 1919). Another gift to the same deity 
is made in the seventh year of Rajendra deva II (ARE 197 of 
I 9 I 9)- An undated record of Rajadhiraja I mentions a service- 
mam given to a goldsmith called Arangan Komaran alias Raja- 
dhirajap-peruntattan. He was to work for himself and for others 
within the city and its hamlets (ARE 210 of 1919). 



TEMPLES OF THE TIME OF THE SUCCESSORS OF RAJENDRA I 35 1 


We have already referred above to an inscription of the days 
of Rajendra deva II. Of the three others, one, of his sixth regnal 
year, registers an order of the royal secretary (issued at the re- 
quest of the Senapati) that none but the resident vellalars of Varakkur 
should levy or pay any kind of dues within the village and that 
others who did so would be considered to have transgressed the 
law (ARE 180 of 1919). Another, of the same year, registers 
an order of the assembly altering the classification of the lands 
in Puttur alias Jananathanallur which had been formerly granted 
for the merit of Udaiyapirattiyar Parantaka Uloga Mahadeviyar. 
“Uloga Mahadeviyar” seems to be erroneously used in place of 
“Sembiyan Mahadeviyar”. The earlier grant referred to would 
appear to have been made in the reign of Rajaraja I (as the term 
Jananatha is a surname of that king) for the merit of Sembiyan 
Mahadevi, for whom Rajaraja I had boundless devotion. Though 
Rajaraja I had a queen called Ulogamahadevi alias Danti Sakti 
Vitanki, the prefix “Udaiyapirattiyar Parantakan” suggests 
that the lady concerned should be identified with Sembiyan 
Mahadevi (ARE 181 of 1919). 

Finally, the remaining inscription of Rajendradeva II, of 
his seventh year, relates to a gift of land for offerings, made to 
the temple of Virasola Vinnagar Alvar by the local assembly 
meeting in the Viranarayana Vinnagar Alvar temple. Parantaka I 
had both titles “Viranarayana” and “Virasola”. One wonders 
if the same temple, or a shrine for a new deity in the same temple, 
or a different (unidentified) temple is under reference (ARE 183 
of 1919). (See Note 2 on Later Inscriptions at p. 354). 

Description of the Temple : 

The temple consists of the main shrine dedicated to Varada- 
raja Perumal, facing east, with subsidiary shrines for Varamangai 
Tayar (in the south-eastern corner of the prakara ), Andal and 
Narasimha. The temple campus is enclosed by a wall with a 
gateway (without a gopuram) in line with the axis of the central 
shrine. 

The main shrine reminds one of the Venkatesa Perumal temple 
at Tirumukkudal, in that there are no devakoshtas on its walls; 



352 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


it consists of a garbhagriha and a mukha- (or ardha-)mandapa forming 
a unitary structure, supported by an upapitham of height 1.20 ms 
measuring 14.70 ms by 9.20 ms and an adhishthanam of height 
1.50 ms measuring 13.00 ms by 7.75 ms. The adhishthanam consists 
of the mouldings of upanam, padmam and a rounded kumudam. Over 
these mouldings is a lively frieze consisting of mythical animals 
such as the yali , kamadhenu and leogriff. Above this frieze and 
below the vari, there are a series of miniature sculpture panels, 
measuring 30 cms by 15 cms, distributed one below each pilaster; 
there are six each on the front and rear adhishthanam walls, and 
ten each on the side walls, depicting scenes from the Rama and 
Krishna legends and the various incarnations of Vishnu, all of 
fine workmanship. There are representations of Padmanidhi 
and Sankhanidhi below the pilasters flanking the main entrance 
to the mukhamandapa. The pilasters are octagonal with a square 
base. At the prastara level, there is a kudu- adorned cornice, with 
a bhutagana frieze below it and a ya/z-frieze above it. The sri- 
vimana is tri-tala, with a renovated superstructure crowned by a 
circular griva and sikhara. 

The garbhagriha, which contains stone images of Vishnu, 
Bhudevi and Sridevi, is of the sandhara type, the passage measuring 
74 cms in width and lighted by three windows, one on each free 
facade of the garbhagriha. Internally, it measures 2.24 ms square. 
The mukhamandapa measures 4.89 ms. by 5.32 ms. From the prakara, 
a flight of four steps in front leads to the mukhamandapa ; the verti- 
cal faces of the steps are decorated with sculptures of dancers, 
lotus petals, animal designs etc. The flight is flanked by a pair of 
sinuous balustrades. From the sides also, there are flights of 
steps, similarly decorated, and all seem to be part of the original 
complex. There is an open, multi-pillared mandapa in front of the 
mukhamandapa (Pis 341 to 356). 

The Vishnu temple at Tribhuvani was thus a foundation of 
the illustrious Parantaka I. We have records in it of the rich and 
eventful history of this temple and the taniyur for over four centu- 
ries. Very few Vishnu temples have come down to us with their 
original features substantially intact. Most have also suffered 
at the hands of the well-intentioned and pious renovators, who 



TEMPLES OF THE TIME OF THE SUCCESSORS OF RAJENDRA I 353 


have let the hideous cement-culture loose on the sacred domain 
of temple architecture and sculpture. The Siva temple at Trisu- 
lam near Madras has been such a sufferer. May the gods save us 
from these monstrosities! 

Despite periodical military onslaughts and occasional acts of 
vandalism, the Ranganatha temple at Srirangam has survived as the 
largest of the Vishnu temples in the Tamil country without much 
impairment to its ancient features, enjoying the proud privilege 
of having the longest recorded history on its walls. Its origin goes 
back to the days of the Ramayana and the Silappadikaram. It is 
regrettable that no effort has so far been made to publish a 
grand tome on this historic monument such as the French and 
Dutch archaeologists have done for those in Indo-China and 
Indonesia. 

In the course of my survey, I could find only two ancient 
Vishnu monuments retaining to a large extent their original 
character. They are the Vaikuntha Perumal temple at Kanchi 
and the Sundaravarada Perumal temple at Uttaramerur. To 
these two, we may perhaps add the cave temple and the adjoining 
structural temple of Pundarikaksha at Tiruvellarai in Tiruchy 
district. The Varadaraja Perumal temple (Viranarayana Vin- 
nagar) at Tribhuvani is still fortunately one of the few Vishnu 
temples having some of its old features and preserving some of its 
original inscriptions. They give us a vista of the greatness of its 
past. Let us hope that earnest efforts will be made to preserve 
its rich features in their pristine state.* 


♦Like the other important ancient Vishnu temples of Vaikuntha Perumal at Kanchi and 
Sundaravarada Perumal at Uttaramerur, the Tribhuvani Vishnu temple might have had three 
storeys in the srivimana and three shrines one above the other. The enormous stone sculpture 
of Pallikondar now lodged in the verandah of a house in a street adjacent to this temple might 
have adorned the sanctum in the third tala. This srivimana might have suffered damage at 
some unknown period. 



354 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


Note i 

Rajendrasolan Uttamagram 

This charity was established in the temple by the General, Senapati Mavali Vanarayan, 
to secure the health of the king Rajendra Chola I. On Wednesday, the 2nd March 1048 a.d. 
in the thirtieth year of the reign of Rajadhiraja I, the mahasabha of the taniyur met and purchased 
lands in the name of Viranarayana Vinnagar Alvar to meet all the requirements of the above 
charity. Seventy-two velis of land were purchased, to yield an annual rental of 12,000 kalams 
of paddy, estimated to be the quantity required annually to take care of all the provisions of 
charity. Besides providing for offerings, worship etc, on a grand scale to Virrirunda Perumal 
(the main deity), Alagiya Manavalar and Narasinga Alvar; for the conduct of festivals on the 
occasions of Masi tirup-punarpusam, Jayanti ashtami, Margali tiru-ekadasi, Uttarayana, 
Dakshinayana, and the two Vishus (Aippisi and Chittirai) ; for feeding the Sri Vaishnavas; 
and for having the Tiruvoymoli recited — all of which required 2,475 kalams of paddy in all annu- 
ally; provision was also made for: 

(a) three teachers of the Rig Veda, three of the Yajur Veda, one each of Chhandogasama, 
Talavakara sama, Apurva, Vajasaneya, Bodhayaniya and Styashta(adha) sutra, making 
a total of twelve teachers, with a total daily allowance of four kalams of paddy; 

(b) one person each for expounding the Vedanta, Vyakarana, Rupavatara, Ramayana, 
Bharata, Manu Sastra and Vaikhanasa Sastra; 

(c) sixty students each of the Rig Veda and Yajur Veda, twenty of Chhandogasama, and 
50 of other Sastras (making a total of 190 persons) with a total daily ration of 11 kalams, 
to kurunis and four nalis; and 

(d) seventy other students of the Vedanta, Vyakarana and Rupavatara. 

The provision thus made for feeding the teachers and students detailed above consisted 
of 9,525 kalams of paddy. Together with the provision for services in the temple mentioned 
earlier, the total requirements for the year came to 12,000 kalams, which were directed to be 
measured out by the holders of the 72 velis of land purchased and given for the purpose. It was 
stipulated that the tarccm (class) of the land should not be altered at the time of any later general 
re-classification of lands; that, on this land, no taxes or obligations should be imposed other 
than eri-ayam, eri-amanji and padikaval: and that the instructors and students of the Vedas, the 
Bhattas who expounded the Sastras etc. were also exempt from certain payments and obligations. 
The rest of this huge record is damaged. 


Note 2 

Later Inscriptions 

There are 21 inscriptions of the reign of Kulottunga I in the Vishnu temple at Tribhuvani, 
from his 3rd to his 49th years. One of his fifth year (ARE 197 of 1919) mentions a gift of land 
for conducting a festival in the temple of Tiru Nagesvaram udaiya Paramasvamin, a Siva temple 
in the locality. One of his 6th year (ARE 177 of 1919) registers a gift of land to Kola Varaha 
Alvar, a Varaha idol installed in the Tribhuvani temple. Two of his ninth year (ARE 184 & 
186 of 1919) record a gift of land and of two house-sites for feeding twenty Vaishnavites. The 
assembly met at night in the mandapa in front of the temple of Viranarayana Vinnagar Alvar 
(called here “Narnmur mula-deivam” or “the patron-deity of our place”); the donated land was 
placed in the twelfth grade (for assessment) on the orders of the king. 

Some tax-free lands had already been given to the temple of Udavi Tirumanikkuli Mahadevar 
in Merka nadu (a Siva temple located between Cuddalore and Alappakkam of the present 
day) but, since they were found insufficient, the local maha sabha made an additional grant 



TEMPLES OF THE TIME OF THE SUCCESSORS OF RAJENDRA I 355 


cif tax-free land to the temple from the area of Tribhuvana-mahadevi chaturvedimangalam — 
an instance of extension of aid to a neighbouring temple in need (ARE 209 erf 1919). 

One (Kpa)rai Tirunarayana Bhattan alias Kavikumuda Chandra Panditar of Manukula- 
sanach-cheri composed a kavya on the king, called Kulotlungasola charitai. The mahasabha of the 
taniyur received a letter from the king, requesting them to listen to the kavya. The mahasabha 
accordingly met in the hall of the temple to listen to the recital of the kavya, and in appreciation 
of it, made a gift of land to be enjoyed by the poet and his descendants (27th year: ARE 198 
of 1919). 

In an eastern hamlet of the city, there was a temple for Durga under the name of Emalattu 
Durgaiyar Omkara-sundarii Its lands, flower-gardens and tank were registered under class 
twelve and made a gift of to the temple, in the forty-second year of the king, the newly formed 
village being called Bhupalasundara vilagam(ARE 207 of 1919). 

In his forty-third year, a gift of land for feeding tapasvins and mahesvaras is recorded (ARE 
200 of 1919). Another of the same year directed that artisans of any village were to serve only 
in their own village and were forbidden to serve outside. Perhaps there was a scarcity of artisans 
in the land during the time. 

Two inscriptions of the forty-third and forty-ninth years (ARE 204 and 190 of 1919) refer 
to the Lord of this temple (presumably) as Ten Tiruvengadattu Emperuman (the Lord of South- 
ern Tirupatij in Tribhuvana-mahadevi chaturvedimangalam, described as a brahmadeyam 
in Viravatara valanadu, a subdivision of Gangaikondasola valanadu. It is likely that Viravatara 
was a biruda of Kulottunga I. 

An. inscription of the forty-eighth year registers a gift of land for feeding itinerant sinayogins 
and mahesvaras at a local Sivamainam called Tirunavukkarasu matham (ARE 203 of 1919). 

Another inscription of lus (ARE 202 of 1919: date lost) refers to a temple called Tiru-merk- 
koyti and a gift of land made to it for providing offerings to the deity, for festivals thereof, and 
for feeding pilgrims and sampradayins. 

According to Vaishnavite hagiology, one Krimikantha Chola is regarded as the persecutor 
of Acharya Ramanuja, and he is identified by some Vaishnayite schools of thought with Kulot- 
tunga 1. Ramanuja hved in exile from the Tamil country between a.d. 1098 and 1 122, in Melkote 
in Karnataka. Tins alleged persecution by Kulottunga I is discussed in Note 3 at the end of 
this section. There was extensive royal as well as popular support for Vishnu temples and allied 
institutions throughout the reign and realm of Kulottunga I. It is hardly conceivable that this 
king persecuted Ramanuja; the latter’s flight to Karnataka must have been in the wake of some 
sectarian rivalry, and not to royal or popular hostility to him or his tenets. 

There are two inscriptions ol the days of Vikrama Chola. One, of his sixth year (ARE 175 
of 1919), mentions a famous general, minister and statesman called Naralokaviran, who played 
a distinguished role in the reign of Kulottunga I and in the early years of that of Vikrama Chola. 
He was a great builder of temples and made vast additions to existing ones, and his gifts to them 
are many and noteworthy. The inscription under reference records a gift of land towards the 
temple campus, a hall and a flower-garden for the Siva temple of Arulakara Isvaram Udaiyar 
given in the fifth year of the king by Naralokaviran (alias Arumbakkakkilan Madhurantakan 
Ponnambalakkuttan alias Porkoyil Tondaimanar, resident of Manavil in Manavil kottam, a 
district of Jayangondasola mandalam), for the prosperity of the king and the village. Naraloka- 
viran was also known as Arulalan or Arulakaran. He also built a Siva temple of the name of 
Arulalesvaram at Madhurantakam (Early Chola Temples, pp. 99-101). The above inscription 
also mentions a flower garden for the image of Parantaka deva set up in the temple called that 
of Rajarajesvaram Udaiyar (in this area). How we wish we could trace these temples! 

The other inscription, of the 9th year (of Vikrama Chola), records a gift of land for weavers 
of the anuloma class, who enjoyed the privilege of weaving and supplying clothes to temples 
and kings (ARE 208 of 1919). 

An inscription of the later Patlava chief Kopperunjinga (a.d. 1246-1279), a contemporary 
of Rajaraja Chola III, who hastened the downfall of the Cholas, states that he constructed a 



MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


356 

temple for Herambha Ganapati on the bund of the tank at Tnbhuvam, and that he repaired 
its embankment, the sluices and the irrigation channels of the tank (ARE 182 of 1919). We 
recall that the same tank was repaired after a storm in the fortieth year of Kulottunga I. Kop- 
perunjinga was considerably interested in irrigation projects. The excavation of the Perumal 
eri (South Arcot district) and the erection of sluices and the strengthening of the bunds of the 
Olugarai eri (in the Pondicherry territory) stand to his credit; so also, the tanks in the neigh- 
bourhood of Tiruvannamalai (vide my book in Tamil, Kopperunjinga, and articles in The Journal 
of the Madras University). 

The last inscription is of the days of the Vijayanagara ruler Viruppanna Udaiyar, dated 
Saka 1314 (a.i). 1392). It records a gift of land to the temple of Virrirunda Perumal (identical 
with the Viranarayana or Venkatesa Perumal temple) at Tribhuvani. 

Note 3 

Alleged Persecution of Ramanuja by Kulottunga I 


A list of Inscriptions of the time of Kulottunga I relating to gifts (royal and other) to Vishnu 
temples is appended below: 


Place 

Regnalyear 

ARE no. 

Nature of gift 

Arpakkam 

2 

138/1923 

Gift of two lamps to Tiruvil Vinnagar by Queen 
Trailokya Mahadevi. 

Kanchipuram 

3 

522/1919 

The sabha sold 3 veils of land to Attiyur Alvar 
(Varadaraja). 

Tirumukkudal 

5 

i73/»9«5 

The mahasabha made the temple-lands tax-free 
in lieu of cash received. 

Tirukkoyilur 

6 

125/1900 

Gift of land to Tiru Idaikkali Alvar temple. 

IO 

121/1900 

Gift of two lamps, to same temple. 

Tribhuvani 

6 

177/1919 

Land-gift to Kola Varaha Alvar. 


9 

178/1919 

Royal gift of 4 veils to Tiruvahindrapura Alvar 


9 

186/1919 

Royal order fixing the rate of land given to a 
Vaishnavite feeding-house. 


‘3 

212/1919 

Royal order remitting a tax. 

Palayasivaram 

IO 

21 1/1922 

Land sold by sabha to Singapura Alvar in 
Rajendrasola Vinnagar. 

Udaiyarkoyil (near 
Tiruchcherai, 
Tanjavur dt.) 

16 

399/1902 

Land-gift to Kulottungasola Vinnagar (on easy 
terms) . 

Srirangam 

15 

61/1892 

Gift for singing of liruppalli eluchchi and recitation 
of Tiruvoymoli. 


18 

62/1892 

Provision for singing of the second decad of 
Kulasekhara Alvar’s hymns. 

Uttaramerur 

19 

170/1923 

Gift of land and houses to Rajendrasola Vinnagar 
for a flower-garden called Kulottungasolan. 

Brahmadesam 
(North Arcot) 

21 

269/1915 

Gift to Perumandapattu Mahavishnukkal 

temple. 

Tiruvendipuram 

23 

136/1902 

20 veils as a royal gift to Tiruvayindrapurattu 
Alvar temple. 


28 

— 

Ramanuja’s flight to Melkote 



TEMPLES OF THE TIME OF THE SUCCESSORS OF RAJENDRA I 357 


Place Regnal year 

ARE no. 

Nature of gift 

Pennadam 

29 

234/'929 

Perunguri sabha met in the Suttamalli Alvar 
temple and made gifts to the Vada Kailasam 
Udaiya Mahadevar temple. 


38 

271/1929 

Mandapa built by Malirunjolai, a Minister and 
worshipper of Vishnu. 

Srimushnam 

30 

331/1916 

Villages gifted to Sri Varaha Alvar temple and 
Siva temple. 


32 

333/1916 

The above villages demarcated. 

Draksharama 

(A.P.) 

33 

349/1889 

Temple of black stone for Vishnu built by a 
Pallava feudatory of king. 

Narasingapuram 

34 

344/191° 

Shrine for Rama, Sita and Lakshmana built in 

(Ching. dt.) 

35 

349/1910 

Madhurantaka Vinnagar and land endowment 
for it. 

Kar undi ttaikkudi 

35 

SII.II, 22. 

Vishnu temple built in newly organised village 
settled with 106 chaturvedis. 

Tirukkannapuram 

36 

519/1922 

Lamp-gift 

SriviUiputtur 

38 

551/1926 

Lamp-gift 

Kanchipuram 

39 

18/1893 

Gold-gift to pujaris of Tiruppadagam temple. 


40 

8/1921 

Land-gift for kitchen use of Ashta-puyakiragattu- 
ninrarulina Paramasvamin temple. 


48 

36/1888 

Provision for feeding Sri Vaishnavas during 
a festival. 

Ennayiram 

38 

348/1917 

Royal order to sabha meeting in Rajaraja Vinnagar 

Brahmadesam 

4 i 

158/1918 

for sale of land towards devapratishtha and jala- 
pratishtha (temple construction and irrigation 
works); followed by a chasing-up order. 

Tirukkoshtiyur 
(Ramanathapuram dt.) 

50 

284/1923 

Lamp-gift to local Vishnu temple. 


At Tribhuvani, we have inscriptions also of the twenty-third, twenty-seventh, twenty-eighth, 
forty-second, forty- third and forty-ninth regnal years, relating to miscellaneous subjects (ARE 
206, 198, 201, 207, 205 and 203 of 1919) (vide Note 2). 

Thus we see that liberal endowments and gifts were made to Vishnu temples and allied 
institutions by the king, the members of the royal family, his officers and feudatories, and the 
public at large throughout his long reign and large empire. In the face of such overwhelming 
evidence, it is difficult to sustain the theory that he was a persecutor of Vaishnavism in general 
and of Ramanuja in particular. With very few exceptions, all the Gholas followed a policy 
not merely of negative tolerance but of positive interest in other faiths, devout Saivites as they 
were. (Also refer to The Colas by K.A. Nilakanta Sastri, p.295 and Note 43 on p.300.)* 


*The biggest Chola endowments for the promotion of Residential Higher Learning were 
located in the Vishnu temples at Ennayiram, Tribhuvani and Tirumukkudal. 


358 MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES • • -'.t 1 

MANNARGUDI 

84 KAILASANATHASVAMIN TEMPLE 

Mannargudi, the headquarters of the taluk of the same name 
in the district of Tanjavur, is an important religious centre of 
great antiquity. There are four important temples in the city, 
of which the most popular is the Vishnu temple dedicated to 
Rajagopalasvamin, at the centre of the city. This temple is very 
ancient and would seem to go back at least to the Early Chola 
times. It seems to have received considerable attention at the 
hands of Rajadhiraja I, who had Vaishnavite leanings, and came 
to be known as Rajadhiraja Vinnagaram after him. In the days 
of the Later Chola ruler, Kulottunga I, the temple underwent 
considerable expansion, similar to what occurred in the temple’ 
of Nataraja at Chidambaram; and was rechristened Kulottunga- 
sola Vinnagaram. The present extensive campus would be attrib- 
utable to him. However, during the Nayak period the temple 
underwent further renovation at the hands of Vijayaraghava 
Nayak of Tanjavur (ARE 102 to 105 and 109 of 1897; Pis 
347-348). 

Rajadhiraja I bestowed great attention upon the city which 
during his days was renamed Rajadhiraja chaturvedimangalam. 
The present day Jayangondanatha temple in the outskirts 
of the town, was known as Jayangondasolisvaram said to have 
been located in the taniyur of Rajadhiraja chaturvedimangalam 
during the Middle and Later Chola periods. This temple might 
have come into existence during the days of Rajadhiraja I who 
perhaps bore the surname of Jayangondasolan* (ARE 85, 87 and 
90 of 1897). 

There is however definite epigraphical evidence to show that 
the present day temple of Kailasanathesvarar in the town was 
built during the days of Rajadhiraja I. In a Later Chola in- 
scription dated in the 22nd year of Rajaraja III, the temple is 
described as Udaiyar Sri Kailasamudaiyar alias Rajadhirajes- 


*See temple No. (Jo, Tiruiuilla.ru, ARE 437 of 1965-611. 



TEMPLES OF THE TIME OF THE SUCCESSORS OF RAJENDRA I 359 


varam Udaiyar koyil, located in the tanyiur of Rajadhiraja 
chaturvedimangalam in Suttavalli valanadu. This is further confirmed 
by an inscription of Vira Somesvara who also describes the 
temple by the same name. We also learn that this ruler set up 
the Amman shrine in the temple campus ( nammuril Udaiyar Sri 
Kailayamudaiyarana Irajadkirajesvaramudaiyar koyilil elundaruli vitta 
tiruk-kamakkottamudaiya Periya Nachchiyarukku . . . ARE 97 of 1897). 

. This temple like others in the town, has undergone consid- 
erable renovation in recent times, leaving us little evidence as 
to the original architectural features of the Middle Chola period. 

Another temple of importance in the town is the Annamalai- 
nathar temple; this belongs to the Later Chola period, having 
come into existence during the reign of Rajendra III.* 

We conclude our account of temples associated with the reign 
of Rajadhiraja I with a summary look at some of them located 
in Karnataka. These either are in ruins or have even disappeared 
without a trace. 


ALUR 


DESESVARA (MULASTHANAM UDAIYAR) 

TEMPLE 85 

The village of Alur is at a distance of 4 kms from the taluk 
headquarters of Chamarajanagar in Mysore district. Of the five 
temples there, we are concerned here only with the Desesvara 
temple, whose principal deity bore the name of Mulasthanam 
Udaiyar in the Chola days. An inscription found here, on a stone 
in five pieces and in Grantha and Tamil, tells us that in the seventh 
year of Rajadhiraja I (a.d. 1025), this temple received 20 
madais with which certain lands were bought and a grant was 
made for offerings to the god Mulasthanam Udaiyar of Alur 
(said to be situated in Padi nadu, in Gangaikondasola valanadu 
in Mudigondasola mandalam ). 


*The inscription no. 514 of Tanjore district in the Topographical list of V. Rangachari — ARE 
95 of 1897 — is wrongly attributed to Rajendra I. It belongs to the days of Rajendra III, the 
last of the Chola kings. 



360 

CHIKKALI 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


86 (i) CHANDRASEKHARA (MAHADEVAR) TEMPLE 

(ii) PALLIKONDAR SHRINE 

Chikkali is a small village in Gundlupet taluk of Mysore 
district. Set among the culvitated fields of the village is a ruined 
Siva temple, now called the Mahadevar temple, which came into 
existence during the Chola hegemony over the Karnataka 
region. 

According to an inscription dated in the thirty-third regnal 
year of Rajadhiraja I (a.d. 1051) one Kesava Rhatta, son of 
Achayya of Tore Kaaratti built a temple for the merit and 
salvation of his ancestors for twenty -one generations and made a 
grant of 100 bhatlas of land, west of the temple garden and also 
gave away to the temple six cows to provide for a perpetual lamp 
to “the god Mahadeva and the Pallegonda god (Ranganatha)”. 

The inscription reads as follows: “Vira Pandyan taleyum 
Cheralan sileyum Lankeyum dandalu konda Kovirajakesari varmmarana 
wadeyar sri Rajadhiraja devarke yandu 33 avadu svasti strumatu Tore- 
karattiya Achayyana magam Kesava Bhattam degulavam madisi tamma 
mata pitrigal. iruppatonda talegam paroksha vineyam gaiydu devargge 
kotta bhumi degula dontam...” (EC, My, Gn, 93). And Makkayya, 
son of Biyalabbe and Rachamma, the son of Mara Vadeya and 
grand son of Kongarxi Gavunda of Elandavadi in Vore nadu, 
bought land and a grant of 100 bhatlas of dry field and rice land 
to the north of Gundila to provide for the perpetual lamp. The 
inscription is dated in the Saka year 971 (a.d. 1059). This temple 
must have come into existence before this date. 

KOTTAGERE 

87 RAJENDRASOLISVARAM TEMPLE 

Kottagere is a small village in Kunigal taluk of Tumkur 
district. The town of Kunigal, the taluk headquarters, lies at a 
distance of 70 kms from Bangalore on the road to Poona, and 



TEMPLES OF THE TIME OF THE SUCCESSORS OF RAJENDRA I 36 1 


Kottegere is about three kms from Kunigal, along a district 
road skirting a big lake near the village. To the east of the village, 
there is a small modern shrine housing a Linga with a nandi 
in front. At the base of a pipal tree ( asvatta katte) close by, there 
is a stone slab containing an inscription of Rajadhiraja I’s days, 
in Grantha and Tamil characters. We gather from it that Kuningil 
alias Rajendrasolapuram was the headquarters of Kuningil 
nadu, a nagaram, and a centre of activity of the famous merchant 
guild called Tisai Ayirattu Ainnurruvar. We also learn that a temple 
named Rajendrasolisvaram was built here, and a huge lake 
excavated nearby (which exists even now), and that a proces- 
sional deity called Rajadhiraja Vitankar was set up. The record 
is dated in the 31st year of Rajadhiraja I, five years after the 
death of Rajendra I. It is therefore likely that it was built in 
honour of Rajendra I during the reign (and sometime before 
the thirty-first year) of Rajadhiraja I (a.d. 1049). 

The temple is no longer in existence. 


KOLAGAALA 

GANGESVARAR TEMPLE 88 

Kolagaala is a small village, lying one km to the south-east 
from the 38th km stone from Mysore on the road from Mysore 
to Heggada-devanakotte. 

On a stone in front of the Mari temple here, there is an in- 
scription dated in Saka 975 as also in the eighth regnal year of 
Rajadhiraja I. It mentions that one Rachayya, son of Uttama 
Ghola Gavunda of. . . (name of town missing) in Navale nadu 
set up the god Gangesvara and endowed the temple with some 
lands adjoining one Tavudahalli tank. This Gangesvara temple, 
presumably a foundation of the days of Rajadhiraja I, has also 
now gone out of existence. 



362 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


(B) RAJENDRA DEVA H 
TIRUKKOYILUR 

TRIVIKRAMA PERUMAL (TIRU IDAIKKALI 
8g ALVAR) TEMPLE 

Tirukkoyilur is the headquarters of a taluk of that name in 
the South Arcot district, and is on the southern bank of the Pen- 
nai, about 25 miles (40.23 kms) from Villupuram. Held sacred 
by both the Vaishnavites and the Saivites, it was formerly known 
as Tirukkovalur; it was the home of the Malayaman Chiefs 
(famous from the days of the Tamil Sangam) who held sway 
in the region around it — then known as Maladu (or Miladu) 
of 2,000 villages, with Koval (short for Kovalur) as their capital. 
It is also closely associated with the early Vaishnavite saints 
Poygai Alvar, Bhutattalvar and Pey Alvar. There is an ancient 
Vishnu temple here, in the western side of the town. The presid- 
ing deity is called Trivikrama Perumal now. Tirumangai Alvar 
calls Him “T’iru Idaikkali Alvar at Kovalur”. 

The temple contains a large number of inscriptions. The 
most important is a record of the 6th year of Rajendra deva II 
(with the tirumagal maruviya introduction). According to it, .the 
central shrine of the temple of Tiruvidaikkali Alvar at Tiruk- 
kovalur alias Madhurantaka chaturvedimangalam, which had 
been built partly of brick, had become old and had cracked; 
one Ranakesari Raman alias Narasimhavarman, “who belonged 
to the Bhargava race,” and said to be the governor of the area 
of the Miladu-2,000 province, had the old building pulled down, 
and rebuilt the central shrine and the mandapa entirely of “fine” 
black granite, set up five stupis and also built the enclosing veran- 
dah and a mandapa in front of the temple. He is also said to have 
presented to the central deity a canopy of pearls. What is of 
particular interest to us is that he got re-engraved on the walls 
of the new central shrine, true copies of records found on the 
walls of the earlier structure (ARE 123 of 1900). 

A number of inscriptions relate to the construction of the 



TEMPLES OF THE TIME OF THE SUCCESSORS OF RAJENDRA I 363 


temple. An undated record mentions that a Chief named Raman 
Narasingan (same as above?) put up a gold stupi (ARE 118 of 
1900). Another undated record states that the central shrine was 
built for the merit of “Narasingavarman, Lord of Miladu” 
(ARE 120 of 1900). There is no reference to the construction 
during the Chola days either of the outer wall ( tirumadil ) or 
of any gopuram, but, from a much later record, one of Saluva 
Narasimhadeva Maharaja, found on the north wall of the central 
shrine and dated in Saka 1393, we learn that the outer Avail, and 
a gopuram had collapsed and were repaired by a certain Annama- 
rasa (ARE 1 of 1905). 

We have referred to the re-engraving of the older records 
at the time of reconstruction. One such record, of the twenty- 
third year of Rajaraja I, refers to a sale of land; so does another, 
of the tweny-fourth year of Rajendra I (ARE 128 of 1900). . 

There are a number of Later Chola records also. A sixth 
year record of Kulottunga I refers to the conquest of the Ratta 
country and states that the Sabha of Tirukkovalur recorded on 
stone the boundaries of the villages granted to the Tiruvidaikkali 
Alvar temple (ARE 125 of 1900). A Sanskrit verse in honour 
of the Trimkrama avatara is found above this inscription. There 
are records of the tenth, thirty-first and thirty-second years of 
this ruler, all pertaining to gifts (ARE 12 1, 122 and 130 of 1900). 
An interesting record of the period of one Chola-Kerala deva 
(Kulottunga III?) makes provision for the recitation of 77 m- 
nedun-tandagam in the temple (ARE 126 of 1900). The reference 
obviously is to the hymns composed by Tirumangai Alvar and 
included in the Nalayira divya Prabandham. We learn incidentally 
from the inscription that the village and its neighbourhood 
were included in the district then called Vanagopadi alias 
Madhurantaka valanadu. A Vikrama Pandya record of the 
eighth year refers to his victory over the Kakatiya ruler Ganapati 
and a gift of two lamps to the temple (ARE 116 of 1900). An 
undated inscription of a later date (the name of the king is also 
not mentioned) calls this temple Chitrameli Vinnagar alias 
Tiruvidaikkali (ARE 1 1 7 of 1900). 

This temple may have come into existence even in the days 



364 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


of Parantaka I (as a structure partially of brick), since the village 
in which it is situated has throughout been known a Madhuran- 
taka chaturvedimangalam in the inscriptions. It received 
patronage during the days of Rajaraja I and Rajendra I and 
was reconstructed of stone in the days of Rajendra deva II. 

(Also see pp. 85-89 of Early Chola Temples for an account 
of Tirukkoyilur and the Siva temple of Virattanesvarar there.) 

OLAKKUR 

90 AGASTYESVARAR TEMPLE 

Olakkur is reached from the railway station of that name 
between Chingleput and Tindivanam stations of the Southern 
Railway, and is about 3 kms from the national highway passing 
through these two towns. The old temple here is dedicated to 
Agastyesvarar. 

There are four inscriptions on the south, west and north 
faces of the basement of the temple, of which the earliest is one 
of the 41st year of Kulottunga I, found on the south face (ARE 
351 of 1909). (A record found on the door-post of the entrance 
to the temple repeats the contents of this inscription.) According 
to it, a private donor paved the floor of the central shrine, set 
up the Sripada-pitha (pedestal) and a ney-tangi (lamp-post), 
consecrated an image of Vighnesvarar and gifted gold for a lamp 
to the temple of Tiru Agattisvaram Udaiya Mahadevar at Ulak- 
kaiyur alias Rajamahendranallur (in Oyma nadu alias Vijaya- 
rajendra ualanadu, a sub-division of Jayangondasola mandalam). 

On the west wall, there is an interesting unfinished record 
of the fourth year of Kulottunga II. According to it, Rajendra 
deva II had placed 100 kalanjus of gold in the hands of the residents 
of Ulakkaiyur for the purpose of building a stone temple for 
Agastyesvarar. The people completed only the first five angas 
after which work was stopped. It was found that half the money 
granted was still unspent, but this amount disappeared owing 
to bad times. But the stone temple originally intended by Rajendra 
deva II was not completed. The servants of the temple complained 



TEMPLES OF THE TIME OF THE SUCCESSORS OF RAJENDRA I 365 

against this conduct of the villagers, and the latter agreed to 
install an image of Somaskandar, which was found wanting in 
the temple, since they were not in a position to complete the 
construction of the temple in accordance with the original under- 
taking before Rajendra deva II. The inscription refers to the 
location of the temple as Ulakkaiyur alias Rajamahendranallur, 
presumably so named after the short-lived crown prince Raja- 
mahendra, son of Rajendra deva II (ARE 353 of 1909). 

Then we have an inscription of the fourth year of Rajadhiraja II, 
on the south wall. It records a gift of 32 cows and a bull to 
the shrine of Vatapi Vitankar in the temple, in expiation for the 
donor’s sin of having killed another in a hunting expedition 
(ARE 352 of 1909). 

From the last inscription here, we come to know of some 
concessions given to the kaikkolars (weavers) living in the streets 
near the temple, in the days of Ariyana Udaiyar of the Vijaya- 
nagara empire. 

This temple may thus be considered a foundation of the days 
of Rajendra deva II, from whose short-lived crown prince this 
village acquired its alternate name of Rajamahendranallur. 
The temple seems to have reflected the vicissitudes of the prince 
in its uncertain fortunes (Pis 352 to 354). 

It is an eka-tala, misra-type temple, consisting of a garbhagriha , 
an ardhamandapa, and a mukhamandapa. The adhishthanam is of stone, 
the rest of the structure being in brick. The griva of the srivimana 
is circular and the sikhara round. The only surviving devakoshta 
sculpture is one of Dakshinamurti. There is a fine image of 
Bhairavar in the loose, which perhaps belonged to the subshrine 
now no more in existence. The Somaskanda and the Vatapi 
Vitankar metallic images gifted to the temple are no longer to 
be found. The ill-fated temple still remains in a state of utter 
disrepair. This Siva temple is in the custody of a Vaishnavite 
family. 



366 MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 

VINNAMANGALAM 


91 VIRRIRUNDA PERUMAL KOYIL 

Vinnamangalam, situated in the Arani taluk in North Arcot 
district has a Vishnu temple on a nearby hill and a big tank: close 
by it. Four inscriptions are found in this place. One is a muti- 
lated inscription of the seventh year of a Ko-Parakesaripanrnar, 
found on a hero-stone planted in the bed of the above tank. The 
place is called Vinnamangalam in this inscription also, which 
seems ascribable to Parantaka I (ARE 24 of 1899; SII, VI, 460). 

Two of the inscriptions are found on the walk of the temple. 
One of them, on the south wall, is of the seventh year of Rajendjra 
deva II (ARE 21 of 1899; SII, VI, 457) ; it gives the name of the 
place as Vinnamangalam alias Vikramachola chaturvedimanga- 
lam in Aiyampulugur (-pugalur?) nadu in Perumbanappadi 
(vala-?) nadu of Jayangondasola mandalam, and the name, of 
the temple as Tirumerkoyil alias Tiru Virrirunda Perumal koyil 
alias Nanadesi Vinnagar. We may infer that the alternate name 
of the place was after Rajendra I and that the temple was possibly 
rebuilt of stone by a nanadesi, presumably a member of the famous 
merchant -guild called Nanadesi Tisai Ayiratiu Ainnurruvar. 

The other inscription is of the fifth year of Vira Rajendra, 
and is on the west wall (ARE 22 of 1899; SII, VI, 458). It refers 
to the place in substantially the same terms as the preceding 
inscription, but the temple is referred to as Malai Tirumerkoyil 
alias Viranarayana Vinnagar Alvar Srikoyil. Perhaps this is a 
revival of an older name for the deity in honour of Parantaka I. 
If so, our identification of Parakesarivarman in the hero-stone 
inscription as Parantaka I gets reinforced, and the original temple 
might be a foundation of the days of Parantaka I, rebuilt later 
on by the nanadesi. 

The last inscription in the place is found on a slab set up in 
the north-east corner of the big tank, and is of the days of Vira 
Posala (Hoysala) Ramanatha deva of the thirteenth century; 
it relates to regulation of fishing rights in the big tank. 

We may thus ascribe the original temple to the days of 



TEMPLES OF THE TIME OF THE SUCCESSORS OF RAJENDRA I 367 


Parantaka I and its reconstruction by a nanadesi to the eleventh 

century, possibly in the days of Rajendra deva II himself. . . 

' ‘ * , ' _ 

(C) VIRA RAJENDRA 

TIRUMUKKUDAL 

VENKATESA, PERUMAL TEMPLE 92 

We have dealt with the Venkatesa Perumal temple at Tiru- 
mukkudal in detail under Rajaraja I. But of considerable histor- 
ical interest is the attention that this temple received at the hands 
of Vira Rajendra, the last great king of the Middle Chola period. 
There is a unique inscription* in this temple which is dated in 
the fifth year, 348th day of the reign of this ruler; one of the 
biggest inscriptions known so far, it consists of 55 lines of writing 
and is engraved in two sections. In the first section the lines are 
very long running to a length of 16.76 ms (55 f ee 0 j the entire 
waif space covered by the inscription is about 50*20 sq ms 
(540 sq. ft). 

It gives us an insight into the working of the governmental 
machinery at various levels and of the political events of the 
first five years and a half of Vira Rajendra s rule. The main 
object of the record is to provide for the maintenance of worship 
in the temple and for the running of a V edic college with an 
attached hostel and a hospital. At the time of engraving the 
record, all the four institutions— the temple, the college, the 
hostel and the hospital — were housed in one building with separate 
accommodation earmarked for each of these institutions. 

The king issued this order while he was seated on the, throne 
called Rajendrasola Mavali Vanarajan in his palace named So la- 
ker alan-tirumaligai at the capital of Gangaikondasolapuram. 
This royal order (kelvi) of the king was committed to writing 
by a royal officer designated tirumandira-olai (the royal secretary) 
and was attested by three other royal officers who bore the desig- 


♦Tirumukkudal, according to this inscription, is said to be in Sri Madurantaka chatur- 
vedimangalam, a tamyur in Kalattur kottam, a district of Jayangondasola mandalam. 



MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


368 

nation of tirumandiravolai-nayagam. On receipt of this royal order, 
certain officers designated eval (authenticating officers) gave 
the formal command and this was seconded by thirty-eight lower 
officials who belonged to three departments of the State, comprising 
six udankuttam (Royal attendants on the king), twenty-eight vidaiyil 
(those who issue permits) and four naduvirukkai (arbitrators). 
A further stage was gone through in the translation of the order 
into action when thirty-two officers of the Accounts Department 
belonging to ten sections gathered together, and with four out 
of them authorising the entry, one reading out the order and 
another making the entry, with a third issuing the revised account, 
the order became operative. The substance of the order was 
as follows: 

The gift to the temple consisted of: 

(i) 75 kalanjus of gold, which the residents of the village of 
Vayalaikkavur were paying towards the maintenance of a 
feeding house ( sala ), 

(ii) certain customary dues raised from the same village 
which had been assigned as a sala bhoga to the temple of Maha 
Vishnu at Tirumukkudal in the second year of the king’s pre- 
decessor Parakesarivarman Rajendrasola Deva (who took 
Rattapadi seven and a half lakhs), and 

(Hi) 72 kalanjus and nine manjadis of gold, which formed 
a prior devadana gift. 

The income from items ( 1) and ( Hi ) at the rate of 1 6 kalams of 
paddy measured by the rajakesari measure* per kalanju amounted 
to 1359 kalams and odd. This was converted into the new measure 
called arumolidevan which yielded an excess of 884 kalams and odd. 
Thus the total income for the temple came to 3243 kalams of paddy 
and 216% kasus of gold. The allocation of these among the four 
institutions is given below: 

( 1 ) The Temple : 

(i) Offerings are to be made thrice daily 601 kalams 

(morning, noon and night) to the deity (approx) 

Sri Raghava-chakravartin (Rama) at noon. 


*1 kalam of Rajakesari measure = i kalam, I tuni and 4 nalis of Arumolidevan measure. 



TEMPLES OF THE TIME OF THE SUCCESSORS OF RAJENDRA I 369 

(ii) for sandal paste and its ingredients 68f kasus 

karpura and kunkumam and for lamps. 


( Hi ) for special offerings to be made on the 
occasion of festivals in the months of Aippasi 
Masi, Kartigai as well as for the hunting 
festival and Jayantyashtami (the birthday 
of Krishna) . 

( iv ) Offerings on the king’s birthday 
(falling on the asterism Ashlesha in the 
month of Avani ) 

(v) Purchasing cloth to cover the images 
of gods and for offerings to be made on the 
birthday asterism of the Vaisya Madavan 
Damayan, who built the Jananatha-mandapa 
in the temple. 

( vi ) expenses to be met on the occasion of 
taking out the deity Vennaikkuttan (Krishna) 
in procession on the day of Tiruvonam in the 
month of Purattasi every year. 

( vii ) for meeting the expenses of feeding 
Sri Vaishnavas on various festive occasions. 

( viii ) for payment to be made to an 
astrologer for announcing festivals, the 
singer for reciting the Tiruvoymoli hymns, 
the cultivators attending the flower garden 
of Virasolan, the Vaikhanasa devahanmis (i.e. 
priests worshipping the deity according to 
Vaikhanasa tenets), the accountant, the potter 
and the washerman attached to the temple. 

( ix ) for repairs ( pudukkuppuram ) in the 
tiruch-churru-maligai to be annually 
undertaken. 

( x ) for purchasing cloth for various 
servants. 


28 kalams 
and odd. 


6 kalams 

5 kurunis 
2 nalis 

6 kalams 
5 kurunis 

2 nalis 

5 kalams 


88 kalams 
1 1 kumis 
4 nalis 


382 kalams 
6 kurunis 


40 kalams 


13^ kasus 



370 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


(2) The Vedic College : 

This institution had a staff' on its roll consisting of (i) a teacher 
for Rig Veda, remunerated at the rate of 60 kalams of paddy 
and 4 kasus per annum, (ii) a teacher for Yajur Veda, also on a 
similar remuneration, and (Hi) a Bhatta to explain Vyakarana and 
Rupavatara, drawing an annual fee of 120 kalams of paddy and 
10 kasus. 

(3) The Hostel: 

This was attached to the College and had a total strength 
of 60 inmates consisting of 10 students ( sattirar ) studying Rig 
Veda, 10 studying Yajur Veda, 20 students engaged in the study 
of Vyakarana and Rupavatara, 10 Mahapancharatras* 3 Siva-brah- 
manas, 5 Vaikhanasas** and two others on studies whose details 
are lost in the inscription. They were all fed in the hostel at the 
cost of the institution and the feeding expenses, along with the 
cost of the sleeping-mats and oil for night study provided to the 
students as also oil for a weekly oil-bath on all the 51 Saturdays 
of the year, coupled with the wages of the cooks and the maid- 
servants who served the students and the teachers, came to 
1642 kalams of paddy and 37 and 5/8 kasus in money. It is 
interesting to note that the present day South Indian custom of 
having an oil bath every Saturday was in vogue even in the elev- 
enth century a.d. The students and teachers were provided 
with mats for sleeping and provision also existed for oil lamps 
for reading by night. 

During the Middle Chola period alone we have come across 
three instances where the temple functioned as a Vedic College — 
one at Ennayiram now in the South Arcot district, dealt with in 
detail in our chapter on Rajendra I, another Vedic College 
set up in the days of Rajadhiraja I at Tribhuvani (now in the 


* Mahapancharatra had five samhitas viz., Paramesvara, Sattavata, Vishvaksena, Khagesvara 
and Sri-Pushkara. According to the Varaha Purana, the persons eligible to study Pancharatra 
are the first three classes and it was one of the four means of realising God, the other three being 
Veda, bakd, and yajna (K.V.Subrahmanya Ayyar, Epi.Ind. Vol.XXI, p.223). 

♦♦Evidently, the agamas and tantras, such as the Pancharatra, Saiva and Vatkhanasa were also 
taught in the college. 



TEMPLES OF THE TIME OF THE SUCCESSORS OF RAJENDRA I 37 1 

Union territory of Pondicherry) and the present one, at Tiru- 
mukkudal. 

We know that there was provision for expounding certain 
subjects in some temples as for instance Vyakarana in the Vyaka- 
rana-Vyakhyana-mandapa at Tiruvorriyur. Inscriptions attest to 
the fact that certain gifts of land were made to teachers who 
were called upon to teach various subjects like the Vedas in the 
village itself; gifts were also made to individuals for expounding 
the Mahabharata, Somasiddhanta, Prabhakara and Mimamsa. How- 
ever, of the three institutions for imparting knowledge of the 
Vedas, the biggest would appear to be the college of Ennayiram, 
which had a strength of 370 students on its rolls. 

(4) The Hospital ( Virasolan Atular-salai) : 

This hospital which was named Virasolan, a surname of the 
king, had 15 beds and was placed in the charge of a physician who 
drew an annual emolument of 90 kalams of paddy and 8 kasus in 
addition to a grant of land ; his duties included the prescription 
of medicines to the in-patients of the hospital, the servants attached 
to the institutions in the temple campus and the teachers and 
students of the Vedic College. There was also a surgeon ( Sel - 
liyaik-kiriyaip-pannuvan ) attached to the hospital who drew a 
remuneration of 30 kalams of paddy; he was assisted by two 
persons for fetching medicinal herbs, who drew a pay of 60 
kalams of paddy and two kasus. These two persons were 
also to supply firewood and attend to the preparation of 
medicines. Two nurses, drawing 30 kalams of paddy and 
one kasu per annum were attached to the hospital, for attend- 
ing on patients and administering medicines. A barber was 
also attached to the hospital who received 1 5 kalams of paddy ; 
he appears to have attended to minor surgical cases. In addition, 
provision was made for meeting the dietary expenses of the 
patients. 

A lamp was kept burning in the ward throughout the night, 
for which a provision of 2 \ kasus per annum was made. In addition, 
a waterman was provided for the hospital at a remuneration 
of 15 kalams of paddy per annum. Finally, a provision of 40 



372 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


kasus was made for stocking 
following 20 medicines: 

(1) Brahmyam kadumburi 

(2) Go-mutra-haritaki 

(3) Vasa hartitaki 

(4) Dasa-mula-haritaki 

(5) Bhallataka-haritaki 

(6) Gandira 

(7) Balakeranda taila 

(8) Lasuady-eranda-taila 

(9) Panchaka-taila 

(10) U ttama-karnadi-taila 


medicines. The stock included the 

(11) Sukla. ... sa. grita 

(12) Bilvadi-ghrita 

(13) Mandukara-vatika 

(14) Dravatti 

(15) Vimala 

(16) Sunetri 

(17) Tamradi 

(18) Vajrakalpa 

(19) Kalyana-lavana and 

(20) Purana-ghrita* 


The proper administration of the grant was entrusted to the 
protection of the members of the mahasabha of Sri Madhurantaka- 
chaturvedimangalam . 

Thanks to this well-preserved inscription, containing the 
royal order giving such elaborate details, we have been able 
to get an insight into the working of the temple in ancient days, 
which combined in it the roll of the educational institutions 
and the tender of the spiritual and physical health of the people. 

Temple funds and charities made in favour of temples, thus, 
served not merely for the maintenance of temple service and 
offerings, but also a larger social purpose of taking care of 
educational institutions, hostels, hospitals and other welfare 
institutions. 


(D) ADHI RAJENDRA 
TIRUVAKKARAI 

93 VARADARAJA PERUMAL SHRINE 

The Chandramoulisvarar temple at Tiruvakkarai, in the 
Villupuram taluk of South Arcot district has been dealt with 


♦These medicines are found mentioned in well-known Indian medical treatises Charaka- 
Susruta-Samhita and Ashtangahridaya. 



TEMPLES OF THE TIME OF THE SUCCESSORS OF RAJENDRA I 373 

in my Early Chola Art /, and Early Chola Temples. While dealing 
with the Siva shrine in this temple in Chapter 2, we mentioned 
the existence of a Vishnu shrine in the campus of this temple. 

There are four inscriptions of Kulottunga I on the walls 
and base of this shrine, three relating to his 27th, 30th, and 
41st years, while the one on the west wall of the mandapa in front 
of this shrine relates to the 2nd year of Udaiyar Adhirajendra 
deva (it is in Grantha and Tamil and incomplete) . But the Sanskrit 
portion records that the vimana which had been previously built 
by Kochchola of brick was reconstructed of stone. We can, 
therefore, take it that the present structure of this shrine be- 
longs to the second year of Adhirajendra. This is perhaps one of 
the rare contributions made during Adhirajendra’s brief and 
uncertain rule of a few months (1067/8 to 1070 a.d. — ARE 
205 of 1 904). 

The Chandramoulisvarar temple which had its nucleus 
in the days of Aditya I grew in size with Sembiyan Mahadevi’s 
shrine for the Paramasvamin and Adhirajendra’s new stone 
shrine for Varadaraja perumal; in the Later Chola period were 
added the Sambuvarayan gopuram and the hundred pillared 
hall. 



7 


Supplement to 
Early Chola Temples 


(A) VIJAYALAYA 


VIKKANAMPUNDI 

VISALESVARAR 

94 (VIJAYALAYA-CHOLISVARAM) TEMPLE 

We have already referred to this temple in our book Early 
Chola Art Part I (page 41). This temple is located in an insigni- 
ficant village by the name of Vikkanampuridi, also called Vilak- 
kanampundi, which is close to the better known village of Rama- 
krishnarajupeta, in the Tiruttani taluk of Chingleput district. 

The present name of the temple, Visalesvarar is a corruption 
of the original name of Vijayalaya-cholisvarar . Two inscriptions 
relating to this temple were reported in the Annual Report 
on Epigraphy for 1943-44. One of them is a record which can 
be dated about a.d. 1378 of Mahamandalesvara Harihararaya II, 
found on the two sides of a slab set up in a field opposite the 
temple, which states that the Idangai Mahasenaiyar of the region 
surrounding Chandragiri met in the place called Idangai-mikaman 
of Vijayalisvaram Udaiya Nayanar at Vilakkunipundi in Tiruk- 
kattikai nadu, a sub-division of Tirukkattigaikkottam in Jayan- 
gondasola mandalam. The next record, dated in Saka 1308 
(a.d. 1386) in the period of Bukkana Udaiyar II (Vijayanagara) 
is found on a slab set up near the dvajastambha at the entrance 



SUPPLEMENT TO EARLY CHOLA TEMPLES 


375 


to the temple; it contains an agreement made by Ellamarasar 
to Vittamarasar to maintain a twilight lamp (for the merit of) 
Bokka-raya, from the taxes remitted by the king in favour of the 
temple of Vijai(y) atendracholesvaram Udaiya Nayanar at Vilakkuni- 
pundi (in Tirukkattikai nadu, a sub-division of Tirukkattigaik- 
kottam in Jayangondasola mandalam (ARE 126 and 125 of 
1 943-44). Recently, the • Tamil Nadu State Department of 
Archaeology has discovered another inscription on the base of the 
main temple which relates to the second half of the thirteenth 
century (about A.D.1270) and reads as follows: 

“ Svasti sri tribhuvana chakravartigal sri vijaya gandagopala devarku 

yandu 22-avadu panguni madattu oru nal Udaiyar vijayalisvara- 

mudaiyanayanarkku . . . chandiradittavatu sandi vilakku onru 
Provision was made for a twilight lamp to the Lord of this temple, 
Vijayalisvaram Udaiya Nayanar. 

These three records thus confirm that the name of the temple 
was Vijayalaya-cholisvaram; it should have come into existence 
in the days of Vijayalaya, the founder of the Tanjavur line of 
the Cholas; the existence of the temple in this region indirectly 
confirms the fact that the kingdom of Vijayalaya extended in the 
north at least up to this place. In other words, Tondaimandalam 
was already a part of the Chola empire even in the days of 
Vijayalaya. So his empire should have spread from Nartta- 
malai in the south to Vilakkannapundi in the north. And the 
two temples of Vijayalaya-cholisvaram built in the former 
locality and Vijayalisvaram in the latter should be considered 
as two pillars of victory at the two ends of his empire. Of course, 
Aditya I and Parantaka I had to fight against their political 
rivals to recover this territory from their control. Scholars hold 
that the northern boundary of the Chola kingdom was the north- 
ern Vellar, vide map on page 133 of K.A.N. Sastri’s The Colas 
(2nd edition), and map opposite page 30 of the History of 
the Later Cholas, part I (Tamil - Annamalai University) by 
T.V. Sadasiva Pandarattar. The Chola empire extended as 
far as the neighbourhood of Tiruttani even during the time of 
Vijayalaya. This northern expansion was, of course, not perma- 
nent till the days of Rajaraja I. 



37 6 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


The Vijayalaya-cholisvaram at Vilakkannampundi is a 
misra type of temple. The adhishthanam is of stone and the super- 
structure is of brick and stucco. It is a tri-tala structure with an 
octagonal sikhara, like that of the Dharmaraja Ratha at Mamalla- 
puram. Its stupi is modern. The temple has an ardhamandapa 
and a madil of loose stones. The garbhagriha houses a Linga 
mounted on an octagonal pitha. There is a panel of Uma-Mahes- 
varar in a niche on the rear wall of the sanctum. There are ex- 
cellent stone sculptures of the age — a set of Saptamatrikas, flanked 
by Ganapati and Virabhadrar (Siva with Toga-patta), Subrah- 
manyar, Chandesar, Bhairavar and Durga (Pis 355 to 361). 

Perhaps, this temple was an earlier foundation completed 
in the days of Vijayalaya and named after him during the period 
of his hegemony in this region. 

(B) ADITYA I 


KOTTAMANGALAM 

SRI RAJAKESARI VINNAGARA 
95 EMPERUMAN TEMPLE 

Kottamangalam is about a kilometre and a half west of 
Kattur, which is 3 kms from Lalgudy in the Tiruchy district. 
In this village, there are a ruined Siva temple called that of 
Brahmisvaram Udaiya Nayanar, an Ayyanar temple, a Pidari 
temple and a ruined Vishnu temple (ARE 636 to 659 of 1962-63) . 

The area where the Siva and Vishnu temples were built 
was called Kiramangalachcheri — a part of Korramangalam 
which had as its administrative unit the body called the 
Perunguri Mahasbhai in Kalar kurram, included in Vadakarai 
Rajaraja valanadu (during and after the days of Rajaraja I). 
Kottamangalam was then also called Jananathanallur, after a 
title of Rajaraja I. 

There are a number of inscriptions relating to the Siva temple 
from the tenth to the beginning of the fourteenth century — of 
Chola kings Kulottunga I and Vikrama Chola, Hoysala Vira 



SUPPLEMENT TO EARLY GHOLA TEMPLES 377 

Ramanatha and Pandya Jatavarman Vira Pandya (5th year; 
a.d. 1301), but they are not of much historical value. 

The ruined Vishnu temple about a few metres from the main 
road beyond a cocoanut tope is interesting. There are eight in- 
scriptions about this temple (ARE 650 to 657 of 1962-63), three 
of an unspecified Parakesarivarman (two of them dated in the 
eleventh year, 653 and 654), one of an unspecified Raja- 
kesarivarman (651), one of the twentieth year of Rajaraja I 
(655, a.d. 1005), one of the thirteenth year of Vikrama Chola 
(652, a.d. 1 1 31) and one of the thirty-fourth regnal year of 
Tribhuvanavira Deva (i.e., Kolottunga III — a.d. 1212). 

After a study of these inscriptions, the Government Epi- 
graphist states: 

“Achchiyan Bhattan Chakrapani Sri Vasudevan, a Brahma- 
dhiraja of Peruvengur, figures prominently in 651, 653, 654 
and 656 .... All these records may be assigned to the 10th 
century on grounds of palaeography. Four inscriptions in 
the Ranganathaswami temple at Srirangam dated in the 
reign of Parantaka I (ARE 95 of 1936-37, ARE 4x5, 418 
and 419 of 1961-62) also record gifts made by Achchiyan 
Bhattan Sri Vasudevan Chakrapani, a Brahmadhiraja, of 
Peruvengur. It may be noted that the two individuals hailed 
from the same place and bear the same title, viz-, Brahma- 
dhiraja. It is, therefore, obvious that Chakrapani Sri Vasu- 
devan of the Kottamangalam records was the son of Sri 
Vasudevan Chakrapani of the Srirangam inscriptions. Since 
the inscriptions from Srirangam are dated between the thirty- 
ninth and the forty-first year of Parantaka I, the Rajakesari- 
varman and Parakesarivarman of the Kottamangalam re- 
cords can only be the successors of Parantaka I. No. 651 calls 
the deity Sri Vasudeva Vinnagar Emberuman , while nos. 653 
and 654 call aparently the same deity as Sri Rajakesari Vinnagar 
Emberuman. The former name appears to suggest that the 
deity was first named after the donor Chakrapani Sri Vasu- 
devan, and that later on the name was changed to Raja- 
kesari Vinnagar Emberuman.” 

I should like to state at the outset that there is no foundation 



378 MIDDLE C 1 IOLA TEMPLES 

inscription stating definitely the original name of the main 
deity, its author, his name and the date of its construction. Two 
inscriptions (653 and 654) refer to an important donor Achchiyan 
Bhattan Chakrapani Sri Vasudevan, a Brahmadhiraja of Peru- 
vengur, who makes a grant of land for tirumanjanam (sacred 
bath) and food offerings during the Vaikuntha Ekadasi day to the 
Emperuman of Rajakesari Vinnagar, and the exemption from 
land tax is granted by the local sabha. He seems to have been a 
person of high standing and influence with the advantage of 
wealth and learning. Citing another donor Sri Vasudevan 
Chakrapani of Sri Ranganathaswami temple at Srirangam, 
who bears the title of Brahmadhiraja and hails from the same 
village of Peruvengur, the Epigraphist holds that the Srirangam 
donor (of about the 39th and 41st years of Parantaka I) might 
be the father of the donor of Kottamangalam and therefore 
concludes that the Rajakesarivarman (no. 651) and Parake- 
sarivarman (nos. 653, 654 and 656) inscriptions should be assigned 
to a period later than that of Parantaka I and that the original 
name of the deity was Sri Vasudeva Vinnagar Emperuman. 

Ths son and father relationship between the two donors 
cannot be said to have been established. On the same basis 
the Srirangam-donor may also be the son of the Kottamangalam 
donor. This will reverse the order of succession. We await further 
evidence to support this hypothesis. In my opinion, the original 
name of the deity of Kottamangalam is Sri Rajakesari Vishnu- 
griha Emperuman (of the eleventh year of Parakesarivarman 
inscriptions), and these two inscriptions (653 and 654) should 
be considered earlier than the Rajakesarivarman inscription 
(651) according to which the same donor (of 653 and 654) 
makes another grant of land to this deity to provide for food 
offerings during the ardha-jamam (midnight) service of the 
Lord. Perhaps on account of his influence and benefactions to 
the temple, he gets the name of the deity changed after his own 
name into Sri Vasudeva Vinnagara Emperuman. This new 
name does not last long for we find the original name of 
Rajakesari Vishnugriha Emperuman asserting itself in an 
inscription of the 20th year of Rajaraja I (655 — a.d. 1005) 



SUPPLEMENT TO EARLY CHOLA TEMPLES 379 

and even as late as the reign of Kulottunga III (thirty-fourth 
year of Tribhuvana Vira Deva; 650 — a.d. 1212). If the two 
unspecified Parakesari inscriptions (653 and 654) and the Raja- 
kesari inscription (651) have to be assigned to the post-Parantaka I 
period, they should refer then to Uttama Chola and Rajaraja I; 
but pending confirmation of the tentative suggestion of the father 
and son relationship of the donors of Srirangam and Kottaman- 
galam, I shall proceed on the assumption that the two inscriptions 
of this temple concerning Parakesarivarman may be assigned to 
Parantaka I. The palaeography of the inscriptions does not 
militate against this conclusion. In that case the Rajakesari 
inscription (unspecified 651) in which the name of the temple 
is given as Sri Vasudeva Vinnagar Emperuman should be 
assigned to Gandaraditya (a.d. 963). 

It is mentioned in the inscription of Kulottunga Chola III 
(Tribhuvana Vira Deva) that the temple of Sri Rajakesari 
Vinnagar was reconstructed about a.d. 1212 by the mercantile 
guild called the “Ainnurruvar” of the 79 Nadus and 18 Bhumis 
and named after them “Ainnurruvar- Vinnagar.” This did not 
last long as it is likely to have been destroyed during the subsequent 
Muslim invasion, as it lay on the highway from Tiruchy to Gan- 
gaikonda-Cholapuram. (PI 362). 

The temple is now in ruins. It is unique in many respects 
and deserves the attention of scholars. It is a brick temple built 
on a granite adhi^thanam. There is now no deity in the sanctum. 
A reclining Vishnu figure of stone lying buried near the temple 
proves that it was a figure of Anantasayi, the original deity of 
this temple. There are a few patches of the old paintings at 
least in two layers on the inner walls of the garbhagriha. There 
is a dilapidated stone mandapa in front. The temple can be en- 
tered by steps on the sides of the ma?idapa. The garbhagriha is a 
square structure, while both the griva and the sikhara are circular.* 

The temple of Sri Rajakesari Vinnagar may be one of the 
temples built on the banks of the Kaveri during the days of 
Aditya I, as suggested by the prefix to the name, Rajakesari. 


*Vide H. Sarkar’s article on “ Chola Prasadas” in Prof. K.A.N. Sastri Felicitation volume. 



380 MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 

PACHCHIL AMALI S V ARAM (GOPURAPATTI) 

96 AMALISVARAR TEMPLE 

This is a small village west of Tiruvasi ( alias Tiru Pachchil 
Asramam). There is an Early Chola temple in ruins here, but 
luckily scientifically renovated and restored to its barest original 
features by the Department of Archaeology, Tamil Nadu. The 
Lord of the temple is called Tiru Amalisvaram udaiya Maha- 
devar in the inscriptions. 

The temple faces west and consists of a garbhagriha and 
an ardhamandapa. The superstructure over the garbhagriha has 
collapsed. 

There are six Chola inscriptions on the walls of this temple. 
Two Parakesarivarman inscriptions, both dated in the twelfth 
year may be assigned to Uttama Chola. One of them records 
the gift of five perpetual lamps ( nilai vilakku) to the Lord of the 
temple of Tiru Amalisvaram in Pachchil, by Sembiyan Maha- 
devi, the queen of Gandaraditya and mother of Uttama Chola. 
The other refers to a gift by Nakkan Viranarayani, queen of 
Uttama Chola. She gave a prabha and a pada-pitha (aureola and 
pedestal) to the processional metal image of Amali Sundarar 
evidently set up by her in this temple for being taken out in 
procession during the Vaikasi Visakham festival. 

A Parakesarivarman record of the sixteenth year also has 
to be attributed to the days of Uttama Chola; it mentions that 
the same queen Nakkan Viranarayani set up a metal image of 
Uma Paramesvari with a prabha and a pada-pitha, to be taken 
out in procession with Amali Sundarar during the Vaikasi Visa- 
kham festival. 

There are three inscriptions of the days of Rajaraja I. One, 
whose date is lost, relates to a gift of land for the supply of oil 
for a lamp to the Lord of the temple. One of his tenth year pro- 
vides for the gift of a lamp by Sembiyan Mahadevi (who out- 
lived her son, well into the reign of Rajaraja I). The third is of 
the twenty-first year, and makes provision for the conduct of 
special snapana (ceiemonial bath) and food offerings every month 



SUPPLEMENT TO EARLY CHOLA TEMPLES 38 1 

on the day of Sadayam, the king’s natal star, and also for arranging 
every month a processional festival and food offerings on the 
day of Avittam, the natal star of Alvar Kundavai Pirattiyar, 
the beloved and respected elder sister of Rajaraja I. The donor 
was Avanimulududaiyan Marttandan Uttaman, the governor 
of Rajaraja valanadu. 

This small temple in such unpretentious surroundings has 
thus associations with various members of the Chola royal 
family. Incidentally, it supplied one of the four hundred talippendir 
assigned to the Rajarajesvaram at Tanjavur from various 
temples. 

There is a fine stone adhishthanam, with a tripatta kumudam 
moulding and two layers of miniature sculptures of high artistic 
merit above the kumudam. There are five beautiful devakoshtas on 
the walls of the shrine, and the ones on the side walls are 
flanked by artistic koshta-pancharas. The devakoshta figures are 
Dakshinamurti in the south, Hariharar in the east (rear), and 
Durga and Brahma in the north. The image of Ganapati to 
be expected in the other southern devakoshta is missing. There is 
an excellent stone nandi a little to the west of the temple (Pis 
363 to 369). 

There is no inscription in this temple prior to the days of 
Uttama Chola. However, the devakoshta figures, all of which 
are of fine quality, can be assigned to the ninth century a.d. 
The Hariharar figure in the rear devakoshta indicates that the 
temple may be assigned to the age of Aditya I, in whose reign 
alone such wide variations are to be found in the devakoshta 
sculptures. It may be recalled that the Adityesvaram (Tiru 
Erumbiyur Alvar temple) at Tiruverumbur has Hariharar in 
the rear niche of the garhhagriha [Early Chola Art, I, pp.i 14-123). 

There is a ruined Vishnu temple called Adi Rangam opposite 
to this temple. 

While we are at Pachchil Amalisvaram, we may take note 
of another ancient temple in the neighbourhood (though it is 
a pre-Chola foundation). 



382 MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 

PACHCHIL TIRUMERRALI 


PACHCHIL TIRU- 

97 MERRALI MAHADEVAR TEMPLE 

Nearly 800 ms (half a mile) east of Pachchil Amalisvaram 
(Gopurappatti) lies another ancient Siva temple called in in- 
scriptions Pachchil Tiru Merrali, its deity being called the 
Mahadevar or Udaiyar thereof. At the time of our visit, it was in a 
thoroughly dilapidated condition, even the Linga lying flat in the 
garbhagriha, dislodged from its original position. It is a huge 
fluted Linga. The temple has the features of temples of the Later 
Pallava king Narasimhavarman II alias Rajasimha (a.d. 
700-728). 

The basement of the temple is of stone, and its superstructure 
of brick. Stone sculptures of Chandesvarar and two of the Sapta- 
matrikas are found in the inner precincts of the temple and a 
stone nandi in the east. A fine sculpture of Alingana Chandra- 
sekharar found in a neighbouring field may be ascribed to the 
Pallava period of about the latter half of the eighth century, 
and it is certain to have belonged to this temple. It is illustrated 
in Damilica (the journal of the Tamil Nadu Department of 
Archaeology), 1970: Plate 8-b. 

On the walls of this temple, there are about ten Chola in- 
scriptions. The earliest of them are two of the days of Parantaka I, 
and a third, which is damaged and whose date is lost, is palaeo- 
graphically close to them. One, of his thirty-fifth year, records a 
gift of land, and one, of his thirty-sixth year (on the south wall 
of the garbhagriha) mentions that a certain Kirti alias Sadasiva 
Acharyan, the uvachchan of the temple, made a gift of a lamp 
to the Mahadevar of Pachchil Tiru Merrali; Pachchil is said to 
be a sub-division of Malanadu. 

There is an inscription of the fifth regnal year of a Mummudi 
Chola. This title was assumed by both Gandaraditya and Raja- 
raja I. Perhaps this inscription should be assigned to the former. 
It records the gift of a gold pattam weighing qo kalanjus by the 
local standard of weight called Pachchil-kal, by Rajasikhamani 



SUPPLEMENT TO EARLY CHOLA TEMPLES 383 

Pallavaraiyan alias Nakkan Kilan Paraman Kunjaramallan of 
Kurugudi in Tanjavur kurram. 

There are three inscriptions of Rajaraja I. One of his third 
regnal year records the gift of a lamp to the temple by a dancing 
girl called Nakkan Paravai Vallanaippaga Talarkoli by name, 
said to be the daughter of the devan (temple-manager?) of the 
temple. 

Another begins with “tirumagal pola ”, but its date is damaged. 
It records the arrangements made by Avanimulududaiyan 
Marttanda Uttaman, who was the Chola administrative officer 
of the nadu, for special offerings to the deity and for feeding 
thirty brahmanas (probably on the days corresponding to the 
natal star of the king). We have already noted similar arrange- 
ments made by the same officer in the twenty-first regnal year 
of Rajaraja I in the neighbouring temple of Amalisvaram. 

This temple also supplied one of the four hundred talippendir 
deputed to the Rajarajesvaram at Tanjavur. 

This temple may be taken to have been built in the latter 
half of the eighth century during the rule over this region by the 
Later Pallavas, and it was maintained in a prosperous and 
flourishing condition during at least the Early and Middle Chola 
periods. 


TIRUPPAINJILI 

NILIVANESVARAR 

(NILIVANANATHASVAMI) TEMPLE 98 

(i) CENTRAL SHRINE 

(ii) VISALAKSHI SHRINE 

(iii) KASI VISVANATHAR SHRINE 

(iv) TIRUTTALISVARAM UDAIYA NAYANAR 

SHRINE 

This place lies about two kilometres to the west of Mannach- 
chanallur on the Tiruchy-Turaiyur road and about 24 kms from 
Tiruchy. The main temple of the village is situated in a grove 
of plantain trees. The presiding deity is called Nilivanesvarar. 
All the three Nayanmars, Sambandar, Appar and Sundarar, 



384 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


have paid their homage to the Lord of this temple. According 
to a local legend, Appar felt thirsty and hungry when he was on 
his way to the temple. Siva provided him shelter and offered 
him food and water to satisfy his needs. Near the left side of the 
entrance from the third to the second prakara , there is a mandapa 
associated with this miracle. It is pointed out that the tank and 
the tope (grove) where the food was offered to Appar is said 
to lie about a kilometre and a half to the south of the temple. 

The earliest of the Chola inscriptions in this temple is of 
of the sixth year, 185th day of Rajendra I (ARE 91 of 1892). 
It records the gift of 1 50 kasus to the assembly to supply 64 kalams 
of paddy every year for offerings. There are two inscriptions 
of Rajadhiraja I which refer to gifts to the temple. 

A number of inscriptions of the Later Gholas are also there. 
One of the fourteenth year of Vikrama Chola (ARE 164 of 
1 938-39) mentions the setting up of a deity named Vikrama- 
cholisvaram Udaiyar and refers to the grant of some devadana 
lands to it. An inscription of the twenty-fifth year of Parakesari- 
varman Rajaraja II (ARE 93 of 1892) refers to a gift to the 
goddess whose shrine is in the second prakara of the temple. 
A group of deities (Emperumakkal — the three Saiva saints) 
is consecrated in the twenty-seventh year of Kulottunga (III) 
and a gift is made to it for offerings (ARE 156 of 1938-39). 
There are seven inscriptions of Rajaraja III and three of 
Rajendra III, besides a number of them relating to the periods of 
the Pandya and Vijayanagara rulers.* 


Other Inscriptions 

*In the south wall of the second prakara, there is an inscription of Vikrama Chola (beginning 
with the introduction Pumalai midaindu ) which records a gift of land by Kon Uttamasolanar 
Vayiragarayan of Adamangalam in Valikvalak-kurram,a subdivision of Rajendrasola valanadu 
for providing offerings during midnight service in the temple (ARE 218 of 1943-44). On the 
north wall of the same prakara, there is an inscription of his son Rajakesarivarman Kulottunga 
Choladeva (II) dated in his seventh year beginning with the introduction Pumevi valar which 
records an order issued while the king was seated on the throne called Anapayan in the palace 
at Ayirattali granting as devadana, for providing offerings to the god Mahadevar at Tiruppainjili 
the village of Anapayanallur which had been newly formed by adding more lands to Seppalaik- 
kudi alias Uttamasolanallur (ARE 216 of 1943-44). There is a record on the south wall of the 
same prakara of the days of Parakesarivarman Tribhuvanavira deva regarding a sale of land by 
three persons for a flower garden to the temple (called Tiruppainjili Udaiya Nayanar temple) 



SUPPLEMENT TO EARLY CHOLA TEMPLES 385 

The main shrine consists of a garbhagriha resting on a high 
adhishthana, an antarala and a mahamandapa. The srivimana is 
ekatala. It has a square sikhara. The devakoshta sculptures are 
Dakshinamurti, Ardhanarisvarar and Brahma. There is a Sapta- 
matrika group. Among the important Chola bronzes may be 
mentioned Nataraja and Sivakami, Ganapati and Pradosha- 
murti. This is an Early Chola temple built of stone in the days 
of Aditya I. (Pis 370 to 375). 

The temple has three prakaras. In the northern side of the 
second prakara, there is the Amman shrine of Visalakshi of the 
Later Chola period. On the outermost prakara , there is a massive 
gateway of stone without a superstructure; this outermost tiruvasal 
is of Pandyan construction (thirty-first year of a Konerinmai- 
kondan, ARE 94 of 1892). 

To the right of the entrance to the third prakara, there are 
two Later Chola shrines ; one is that of Kasi Visvanathar which 
bears an inscription of the thirty-second regnal year of 
Rajaraja III and the other is called the temple of Tiruttalisvaram 
Udaiyar. There is on its walls an inscription of the fourth year of 
Rajendra III, in which a gift of 100,000 kasus for worship to this 
Lord is made (ARE 185 to 187 of 1939). 

Beyond this southern (third) prakara, there is a rock-cut 
Somaskanda shrine at such a low ground level that it is flushed 
with spring water. It is likely to be of Later Pallava or Pandyan 
origin. The Pallavas were very much in evidence in this region. 
Tiruppattur (Tiruppidavur) has a Pallava temple. The Tiruchy 
upper cave bears an inscription of Mahendravarman I; the 
the lower cave is of a later date. Srinivasanallur has a hamlet 
called Mahendramangalam. Nandivarman II, Dantivarman and 
Nandivarman III held sway over this area. The First Pandyan 
empire extended upto Pandik-Kodumudi. This place lay on the 


(ARE 217 of 1943 - 44 ). We learn that the mandapa at the entrance to the first prakara of the 
temple was given the name of “Chera-Pandiyarai-Mummadi-ven-kandan tirumandafiam” , accord- 
ing to an inscription on a pillar at this entrance in the timmandapa. Inscriptions on the pillars 
in the north and east side of the same (first) prakara give the name of one Nangan Viladarayan 
(who raised the verandah presumably) (ARE 214 and 215 of 1943-44). 

There is an undated record (possibly of the Vijayanagara days) on a pillar near the flag staff 
( dvajastambha ) recording the construction of the dvajastambha-mandapa (ARE 219 of 1943-44). 



3 86 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


route to their northern expansion. Therefore, without clear 
evidence, the authorship of the rock-cut Somaskanda temple, 
which is of about the eighth century a.d., should be kept an 
open question. One wonders why it is called the Yama temple — 
was it worshipped by him ? 

TIRUVASI 

MARRARIVARADISVARAR 
99 (SAMIVANESVARAR) TEMPLE 

Tiruvasi (the corruption of its ancient name of Tiruppachil 
Asramam) is on the northern bank of the river Kollidam 
(Coleroon), 12 kms from Tiruchy on the road to Musiri and 
Salem. On the northern bank of the Kollidam and on the south 
side of the main road, there is an ancient early Chola temple 
of the period of Aditya I called that of Tiruk-Kadambat-turai 
Udaiya Mahadevar (now named Matsyapurisvarar temple) 
at Tudaiyar (incorrectly called Turaiyar near Tiruvasi — see 
my Early Chola Temples , pp. 2 19-20 and plates 7 to 13 of Supple- 
ment to Early Chola Art I). Opposite to this temple there branches 
off a country track north of the main road to Musiri. The village 
of Pachchil-Asramam and the temple in it are about a km and 
a half from this junction. Pachchil or Pachchur is just west of 
Tiruvasi but as there is no direct approach to that place, it has 
now to be approached by an indirect road through Manachcha- 
nallur. At Pachchur there is an Early Chola temple of Aditya I’s 
days called that of Pachchil Amalisvaram. Opposite to it is the 
ancient ruined Vishnu temple of Adi Rangam. Close to it is 
another Siva temple of the late Pallava period called Pachchil 
Merrali (of the age of Pallava Rajasimha). The Muttaraiyar 
inscription of Niyamam found on pillars of a later mandapa 
built in the temple of Sundaresvarar of Sendalai mentions a 
famous Tamil poet called Pachchilvel Namban. Pachchur lay 
on the highway from the Hoysala capital of Dvarasamudram 
to the heart of the Chola country and is referred to in the Tiru- 
vendipuram inscription (see my Kopperunjinga — Tamil, p. 88-89), 
which describes the release of the Chola king Rajaraja III from 



SUPPLEMENT TO EARLY CHOLA TEMPLES 


387 


Sendamangalam, where the Later Pallava king Kopperunjinga 
had kept him in prison (thirteenth century a.d.). With the 
enfeeblement of the Chola authority, the Hoysalas who were 
connected by marriage with the Cholas, set up a southern capital 
at Samayavaram alias Kannanur Koppam, about 8 kms north of 
Srirangam, and thus Pachchil became an important place not 
only from the religious angle but from a strategy and military 
point of view as well. Srirangam and Tiruvanaikka on the one side 
and Tiruvellarai on the other have temples of hoary antiquity. 
Further down on the main road from Tiruchy to Lalgudy lies 
Peruvala-nallur where the great Pallava ruler Paramesvara- 
varman I gained a decisive victory over the Western Chalukya 
ruler Pulikesin II, who is said to have fled, after the defeat, 
with only a rag on his body (seventh century a.d.) . 

There are a number of miracles and local traditions relating 
to the temple here : 

(i) Uma is said to have taken the form of a hamsa (swan) 
and worshipped the Lord to gain her Lord’s favour. The Amman 
shrine is believed to be the site of her penance and the tank in 
its front and associated with her is called Annamam Poygai. 

(ii) Brahma is said to have done penance here to regain his 
full powers of creation and the Lord is called Brahmapurisvarar. 

(in) Ayyadigal Kadavarkon (the Pallava king in the latter 
part of the sixth century a.d.) has a hymn on the Lord of 
Pachchil-tiru-achchiramam ( asramam ) in his Kshetrak-kovai. 

(iv) Sambandar who has a hymn on the Lord of the temple, 
calls the Lord Mani-valar kandar (Manikanthesvarar). There 
is a miracle connected with him; at the time of his visit to this 
temple, the region in the neighbourhood was ruled by a local 
chief called Kolli-Malavan. The chief had a daughter, who was 
struck down with a fell disease called Muyalagan (akin to polio) . 
The ailment defied treatment. So the chief brought the disabled 
daughter to the temple and sought divine grace. Just then Sam- 
bandar happened to visit the place; naturally he sought the 
intervention of Sambandar who sang a hymn praying for His 
divine grace ; the daughter was restored to health. 

(v) Sundarar of the later eighth and early ninth century a.d. 



3 88 


MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 


(a.d. 820 is said to be his date of beatitude) has visited this place. 
In this hymn, he demands gold from the Lord in a challenging 
mood that if he did not give, others would. After getting the 
gold he questions its fineness and gets satisfaction from the Lord 
as to its quality. Hence the deity is called Marrari-varada-Isvarar. 

(vi) There is a local legend connecting an episode during 
the time of his visit. It is said that there was a Chetty, Kamalan 
by name. He was a devotee of the Lord. He was issueless. One 
day on his return after worship of the Lord, he found a female 
child. His wife was delighted to have this divine gift. Amalai, 
as she was called, grew to marriageable age. She was keen on 
winning the hand of the Lord of the temple. The father was 
desirous of giving her away in marriage to his brother-in-law. 
So the latter was told to go to Kasi for worship and on his return 
the wedding would be celebrated; so he went. After some months, 
Siva appeared in the guise of the brother-in-law of Kamalan 
and in the company of Sundaramurti, went to Kamalan’s house 
and demanded his bride. The wedding was celebrated. The newly 
wedded couple went to the temple for worship. Then suddenly 
appeared the real brother-in-law, the Kasi-pilgrim. Everyone 
was puzzled and worried. Siva and Amalai hurried past. Amalai 
threw her anklet in front of them. So there ran a rivulet called the 
Panguni or Silambur nadi now flowing north of the temple. 
The worried parents and their followers became dazed when they 
witnessed Siva and Uma on the back of their mount Rishabha 
disappearing into their ‘abode’. This legend has an echo in the 
Vaishnavite legend of Andal in divine love with Sriranganathar. 
Even now the seventh day of the Brahmotsavam (the great 
festival) is celebrated as the day of the divine wedding. 

The sthala-vriksha is Sami or Vanni tree; hence the name of 
the place is Samivana-kshetram. 

The temple faces east. There are two prakaras excluding the 
car streets round the madil of the second prakara. The outer 
gateway ( gopuram ) in the second prakara has five storeys. The 
Amman temple of Balasundari or Balambikai is in the south-east 
corner of the second prakara. The legends of the incarnation of 
Lima devi and the sacred tank called Annamam Poygai are old. 



SUPPLEMENT TO EARLY GHOLA TEMPLES 


389 


Appar refers, in his hymn of T iru-Nagaik-karonam ( Tiruttandagam , 
stanza 4) to the Annamam Poygai at (Pachchil) Asramam; but 
the present structure of the shrine of the goddess is a construction 
of the Later Chola period. It is an eka tala structure with a garbha- 
griha and an ardhamandapa. On the outer walls of the shrine there 
are, in the devakoshtas, sculptures of Vaishnavi, Brahmi, Mahesvari, 
Chamundesvari and Indrani (?). On the northern side of the 
second prakara close to the inner wall of enclosure, is a shrine 
dedicated to Sahasralinga (a Linga with a thousand dimunitive 
Lingas around). The inner gopuram at the entrance to the first 
prakara has three storeys, in consonance with its ancient character. 
The later adornment during renovations would relate only to 
the stucco work of the sculptures. 

The man shrine consists of the garbhagriha, the ardhamandapa 
and the snapana-mandapa whose entrance is guarded by dvara- 
palas. It is this gateway that is associated with the place where 
Sundarar got his gift of gold from the Lord. The garbhagriha 
rests on a high upapitham (62 cms) and an adhishthana (4.35 ms) 
anticipating the Rajarajesvaram temple at Tanjavur. It is an 
eka-tala structure surmounted by a round sikhara. On the outer 
walls of the garbhagriha, there are five devakoshtas housing Ganapati 
and Dakshinamurti in the south, Ardhanarisvarar in the west 
and Brahma and Durga in the north. There is a bronze Bhogasakti 
kept in the garbhagriha. 

There are subshrines of Ganapati in the south-west and 
Subrahmanyar in the west. The original sculptures of Subrah- 
manyar and Vishnu are in the verandah of the tiruch-churru-maligai ; 
there is also a sculpture of Somaskanda. The image of Lakshmi 
in the western subshrine is modern replacing Jyeshtha devi now 
kept on the platform in the south. A bronze of Nataraja dancing 
on a snake is kept in this mandapa. Bronzes of Sambandar and 
Sundaramurti deserve mention. On the southern platform of the 
tiruch-churru-maligai, there are sculptures of the Saptamatrikas, 
Ayyanar, and Jyesthadevi displaced from her subshrine by the 
later Lakshmi. A Linga named Rajaraja-vitankan is said to have 
been installed in the days of Rajaraja I (Pis 378 to 382). 

The Epigraphical Department have so far copied only one 



390 MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 

inscription of the twenty-ninth year of the Hoysala Vira Somes- 
vara; ARE 34 of 1891). I understand that there are uncopied 
inscriptions of Rajaraja I, Rajendra I, Rajadhiraja I, Rajendrall, 
Kulottunga I, Kulottunga II and Rajaraja III; also inscriptions 
of Jatavarman Sundara Pandya and of the Hoysala Vira Somes- 
vara (thirteenth century a.d.) are found in the temple; but as 
the temple was undergoing renovation and the inscribed walls 
were unapproachable during my two visits, they could not be 
verified on the spot. It is hoped that this work will not be further 
delayed so that whatever is left without damage or destruction 
can be salvaged before it is too late. At my request, the Epigraphi- 
cal Department has since copied some of the inscriptions of this 
temple. The ardhamandapa is named the Parantaka mandapam, 
and the mahamandapa in its front is called the Uttamasolan 
tirumandapam. 

The temple has existed at least from the days of Ayyadigal 
Kadavarkon (the latter half of the sixth century a.d.). The 
installation of Ardhanarisvarar in the western devakoshta gives 
us the due that the temple was built of stone in the days of 
Aditya I. The temple of Pachchil-Asrama-Mahadevar is one of 
great celebrity in the Tamil land. 

TIRUVANAIKKA(VAL) (JAMBUKESVARAM) 

100 JAMBUKESVARAR TEMPLE 

In the island formed by the Kaveri and the Kollidam which, 
after separating from each other rejoin for a short distance, only 
to separate again, there are two famous temples, one dedicated 
to Siva at Tiruvanaikka or Jambukesvaram and the other dedi- 
cated to Vishnu at Srirangam. The temple at Jambukesvaram is 
one of the most celebrated Siva temples in the Tamil land. The 
term Tiru-Anaikka would mean “the forest (wood-land) of 
the elephant”. 

The Linga was a svayambhu, under the white naval tree {Euge- 
nia Jambolana) and the Lord came to be named Jambukesvarar; 
this Linga is believed to represent the element of water (Appu 



SUPPLEMENT TO EARLY CHOLA TEMPLES 


391 


Linga). In fact, there is a water spring under the Linga. It is said 
that a saint Jambumuni ate a jambu fruit and its seed burst forth 
into a jambu tree. And the Lord answered his prayers and blessed 
him and there stood the Svayambhu Linga before him. 

The temple is sung by the three Nayanmars, Appar, Sam- 
bandar and Sundarar. 

Tradition has it that a four-tusked white elephant lived near 
the Chandra-tirtha under the shade of a naval {jambu) tree 
and adored the Linga and gained salvation. The tradition goes 
on to say that the elephant bathed the Linga with water carried 
in its trunk, and adorned it with flowers and offered worship 
to it. At the same time, a spider, a fellow devotee, practised its 
own mode of worship of the Lord by weaving a web over the 
Linga to prevent dry leaves from falling on the deity. The ele- 
phant smelling some outside interference with his worship 
destroyed the web. The spider felt offended with this outrage 
on its freedom of worship, entered into the trunk of the elephant 
and stung it so as to cause it mortal pain. Unable to bear the 
pain, the elephant dashed itself to death and with it the spider 
also died. The devotion of the spider was rewarded in its next 
birth by its being raised to be a member of the Choi a royal 
family. He was the famous Koch-chenganan or Kochengat- 
Cholan, a king of the Cholas of the later Sangam age. 

Sekkilar in his Tiruttondar Puranam ( Periya Puranam ) devotes 
a chapter to him and after describing this legend mentions that 
in the ancient Chola line of the Sangam age, there was a scion 
of the house called Subadeva; he and his queen Kamalavati 
were issueless; they worshipped the Lord of Tillai* (Chidam- 
baram) and prayed for a child to perpetuate the royal line of the 
solar race, whose eminent ancestor Sibi cut off and gave away 
his own flesh of equal weight to save a dove who sought his 
refuge. According to legends, the birth of the child was unnatu- 
rally delayed to await the auspicious hour, with the result that 
the child had blood-shot eyes; hence his name Sengannan (the 


‘Apart from Sekkilar’s reference, it is doubtful if Tillai was an important Saivite centre in 
the Sangam age. 



392 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


red-eyed). The mother is said to have collapsed soon after the 
birth of the child. The child rose to be a great king and a match- 
less warrior. After he was crowned king, he won many victories. 
The then Chera king with a number of allies fought against his 
feudatory called Palaiyan and killed him. Then Kochchenganan 
waged war against the Chera king Kanaikkal Irumporai and 
gained a great victory at Kalumalam ; the Chera king was taken 
prisoner but he was released at the intervention of the Tamil 
poet called Poygaiyar who sang the victor’s glory in his collection 
of songs, Kalavali Forty. This eulogy is found mentioned in the 
later Tamil works, the Kalingattuparani of Jayangondar and the 
Vikrama Cholan Ula of Ottakkuttar. Senganan won other victories 
at Venni (Koil-Venni) and Alundai (Tiruvalundur) in the 
present-day Tanjavur district in Tamil Nadu. 

Senganan was not only a matchless warrior, but also a devoted 
follower of Saivism; According to Sekkilar, he is said to have 
built many Siva temples all over the Tamil land and many 
mansions to the Tillai Three Thousand. The Vaishnavite saint 
Tirumangai of the eighth century states in his hymns that he 
built seventy madakkoyil for Siva. 

Senganan is said to have had a vision of his devotion to the 
Lord of Tiruvanaikka in his previous birth and he is credited with 
being the first builder of this temple of the Lord under the shade 
the Jambu tree. It should have been a small temple with a gateway 
inaccessible to an elephant — a rival devotee in his previous birth. 

There is another legend that a Chola king of Uraiyur lost 
his necklace while having his bath in the Kaveri. On the spot 
he prayed that the Lord of Tiruvanaikka accept it as his gift. 
The necklace got into the pot of the Kaveri water meant for 
the bath of the Lord and the jewel fell on the Lord during his 
bath the next day. The miracle is mentioned both by Sundarar 
in his Devaram and by Sekkilar in his Periya Puranam. 

There are more than 13 1 inscriptions connected with this 
temple; almost all of them belong to the Later Cholas (Kulot- 
tunga III, Rajaraja III and Rajendra III), the Pandyas of the 
Second Empire, the Hoysalas and the Vijayanagara emperors 
and their viceroys. 



SUPPLEMENT TO EARLY CHOLA TEMPLES 


393 


A fragment of an inscription of Parantaka I (Madirai-konda 
Parakesari) is found embedded in the pavement of the inner 
prakara of the temple. 

The earliest temple of Kochchenganan’s time should have 
been rebuilt in the days of Aditya I whose temple building 
activities are extolled in the Anbil Plates of Sundara Chola. 

There are no records available about the Cholas of the Middle 
period. Most of the early records should have been unwittingly 
destroyed during the course of the renovation of the central shrine 
in the nineteenth century a.d. 

From an inscription in the Ujjivanathasvamin temple at 
Uyyakkondan-Tirumalai, we come to know that Rajakesari- 
varman Vira Rajendra had a palace here and issued certain 
gifts while seated on the throne called Abhimanaraman (ARE 
462 of 1908). 

We are fortunate enough to have a few of the most ancient 
sculptures of Aditya I’s age still preserved for us here. Among 
them may be mentioned Kshetrapalar (south devakoshta), Brahma 
(north devakoshta ) and Ardhanarisvarar (east-rear -devakoshta) . The 
installation of Ardhanarisvarar seems to me to clinch the dating 
of this earlier main shrine to the age of Aditya I. Mention 
may also be made of some sculptures of the old griva — Subrah- 
manyar, Uma-Mahesvarar and Dakshinamurti, now kept in the 
thousand pillared mandapa of the temple (Pis 383 to 389). 

Kali and Nisumbasundani stone sculptures and the bronze 
images of Bhikshatanar, Kankalamurti, Sambandar, Manik- 
kavasagar and Virabhadrar may belong to the Early and Middle 
Chola period. The exquisite architectural beauty of this temple 
is eulogised by Fergusson ( Early Chola Temples, p. xiv of Intro- 
duction) . 

The Sastras prescribe only five prakaras for a temple and this 
temple is an eminent instance to exemplify thi. feature. The 
Ranganathasvamin temple in Srirangam is, however, an excep- 
tion with seven prakaras. The fifth madil (wall of enclosure of 
Tiruvanaikka), called the Tirunir-ittar madil, built with the 
sacred ashes ( tiru-niru ) as wages was perhaps built by Sundara 
Pandya of Madurai in the thirteenth-fourteenth century a.d.; 



394 


MIDDLE GHOLA TEMPLES 


but there is no evidence of its existence in the days of Appar as 
claimed by a scholar* (see ARE 77 of 1937-38: vibhuii-prakara - 
the gift of Tirunirru Sundara Pandyan) . This madil is being reno- 
vated now. 

Akhilandesvari Shrine 

In the campus of the Siva temple, there is a shrine for the 
consort, Akhilandesvari; this should be ascribed to the Later 
Ghola age. It is presently an enlarged structure in stone. This 
deity was originally a form of Kali to whom perhaps even human 
sacrifices were offered. Sankara (eighth century a.d.), as in the 
Kamakshi temple at Kanchi, checked Kali’s ferocity by installing 
a Sri-chakra in the temple and adorning her ear ornaments with 
the tatanka (with an inset of Sri-chakra) . Thus she became a bene- 
ficent goddess bestowing blessings and prosperity on her devotees. 

(C) PAR ANT AKA I 

PALUR (PALUVUR) 

SUNDARESVARAR (NAKKAN PARAMESVARAR) 

TEMPLE 101 

Palur is a village in Tiruchy taluk of the same district. About 
800 metres short of Ailur on the Tiruchy-Karur road, a katcha 
road branches off to the south to reach an agraharam at the north- 
eastern corner of which a Siva temple in ruins is to be found. 
This is an Early Chola temple, now called that of Sundaresvarar; 
according to the inscriptions on its walls the name of the deity 
was Nakkan Paramesvarar ; and Palur itself was called Paluvur, 
presumably reflecting the fact that the stala-vriksha of the place 
was the banyan tree. 

There are fourteen inscriptions on the walls of this temple. 
One is of the fortieth year of Parantaka I, eight are of a certain 


*Tiruvanaikka Mahakumbhabhishekam Number, dated 5-7-1970, p. 233, and the classi- 
fied list of inscriptions relating to this temple by R. Nagaswamy. 



SUPPLEMENT TO EARLY GHOLA TEMPLES 


395 


Rajakesarivarman, ranging in years from the third to the tenth, 
and three of a Parakesarivarman, all of the third regnal year. 
None of these unspecified inscriptions contains sufficient data to 
enable us to ascribe any of them to any particular ruler. On the 
north wall of the central shrine of this temple, there are two 
inscriptions of the fifth year of a Rajakesarivarman (ARE 346 
and 348 of 1918). They record gifts of land for offerings by 
Mahimalaya Irukkuvel alias Parantakan Virasolan to the Para- 
mesvarar at Tiruppaluvur in Vilattur nadu. In a notef below we 
consider the various benefactions of this Chief, who was a Chola 


f Note on the benefactions of Mahimalaya Irukkuvel 

Mahimalaya Irukkuvel was a powerful Kodumbalur Chieftain and Chola feudatory who 
flourished in the first half of the tenth century a.d. How he was related to the line of Irukkuvels 
of the time of Bhuti Vikramakesari of the Muvarkoyil inscription of the second half of the same 
century, we have no knowing. He himself built temples and made rich gifts to them and to other 
temples. We collect below the facts available about such benefactions, during the reigns of 
Parantaka I and Gandaraditya. 


Period of Parantaka I 

( 1 ) Kodumbalur, Muc h u k u n desvarar (Mndnkunram udaiyar} temple 

Unpublished inscription of the fourteenth year of the king (a.d. 921): see the Manual of 
the Pudukkottai State, Vol. II, Pt. I, p. 1035). Temple of Mudukunram udaiyar built by Mahima- 
laya Irukkuvel alias Parantaka Virasolan (also known as Kunjaramallan). 

(2) Palur, Sundaresvarar (Nakkan Paramesvarar) temple 

ARE 353 of 1918 of the fortieth year of the king (a.d. 947). A gift of gold for a lamp to the 
temple by Adittan Karrali Piratti, one of the queens of Parantaka I. The authorship of the 
temple is not known, since the record is not a foundation inscription and only records a gift. 

Period of Gandaraditya 

(1) Kudumiyamalai, Melaikkoyil (rock-cut temple) 

Inscriptions of the Pudukkottai State, Text, no. 22, third year of the king. Gift of 32 cows for the 
supply of milk during three services to the deity by a relative of Udaiyar Mahimalaya Irukkuvel. 

(2) Sittur, Agnisvarar temple 

Ibid., no. 24, 4th year of the king (damaged record). Grant of three velis of land for food 
offerings and of a veli and a half to the drummers who played at the time of the sri-bali service 
to the Paramesvarar of Agnisvaram by Parantakan Virasolan alias Mahimalaya Irukkuvel. 

(3) Allur, Panchanadisvarar temple 

ARE 366 of 1903, of the 5th year of the king (damaged). Gift of gold for a lamp by the son 
of Virasolan Ilangovelan (owing to gaps, meaning is not clear). 



396 MIDDLE CHOLA TEMPLES 

feudatory during the reigns of Parantaka I and his son and suc- 
cessor Gandaraditya. 

An inscription here of the thirty-ninth year of Kulottunga I 
mentions a gift of two villages, Paluvur alias Rajendrasola nallur 
and Enadimangalam alias Gangavadinallur, which were clubbed 
together into a brahmadeyam for the settlement of 108 brahmanas. 
As the name Ayirattali is mentioned in the inscription, the royal 
order was presumably issued from that secondary capital (ARE 
350 of 1918). 

The last inscription in the temple is of the 21st year of a 
Konerinmaikondan (ARE 351 of 1918: the king’s name is not 
stated; this may be of a Pandya king). It mentions a land-gift 
as a janmakkani to the headman of Paluvur in Vila nadu, a sub- 
division of Rajagambhira val